Do you know how much money Social Security will make you in your later years? A lot of people don’t. And if you are not aware of this number, it can make it much more difficult for you to make your retirement plans.
The good news is that there is an easy way to get an estimate of the amount of your future retirement benefits. Here’s how to do it.
When will you receive your full Social Security benefit?
The Social Security benefits formula can be complicated. The benefits are equal to a percentage of the average of your inflation-adjusted wages during the 35 years that your income was highest.
Your benefit may be affected by your age when you get your first monthly checkup. Your standard benefit is only available when you reach your designated full retirement age (FRA). Before that FRA point, benefits are available to withdraw, but your monthly check will be reduced accordingly. And delaying filing a claim until after that FRA point will result in an increased monthly check amount based on a specific calculation.
The good news is that you don’t have to learn complicated math about the payout formula or the impact of an early or delayed claim. Instead, you can simply log into your personal online Social Security account to see an estimate of your benefits earned at different claim ages.
How to see your estimated future Social Security benefits
To see an estimate of your future benefit, you can create an account at mySocialSecurity.gov. Signing up for an account is quick and free and requires providing some basic information, including your Social Security number, and answering identifying questions.
If you already have an account, you can simply go to the mySocialSecurity website and login with your username and password. However, you will likely need to enter a security code, which will be sent to the email address and/or smartphone number you have on file.
Once you have signed up, you can see your future benefit amount by scrolling down to the ‘Pension Plan’ section. There is a chart of estimated benefits at different filing ages. And you can use a drop-down menu to select the exact age you want to start your checkups at. The website will show you how much your monthly and annual Social Security income will be at each of those chosen ages.
Using this tool will help you understand how an early or late claim increases or decreases the monthly income Social Security provides you, so you can make a more informed choice about when to apply. It also gives you a more realistic picture of how much income retirement benefits are offering you – which may be less than you think.
Something to be aware of: Social Security cannot predict your future earnings with 100% certainty. The benefits estimate is based on your current earnings and an estimate of what you are likely to earn over the rest of your career. However, you can use the drop-down menu to enter your expected future salary to get a more accurate picture.
If your income increases or decreases significantly compared to what you have earned and the amount you have estimated, the monthly benefit you are entitled to can change quite a bit. But the closer you are to retirement, the more accurate this estimation method will be.
Because it’s so quick and easy to see what these benefits will do for you, there’s little reason for pre-retirees not to log in and check what role Social Security will play in their retirement – and how they can influence the financial support they receive with their choice about when to start their monthly checks.