Now that your 2022 taxes have been filed, you can get an updated look at your estimated monthly Social Security payments online. This online tool uses the money you have paid into Social Security to give you an estimate of what your monthly payments will look like. It can also be used as a guide to help decide when to retire, as the monthly benefit changes based on a retiree's age.
Americans can start to draw from Social Security at age 62, but the longer you wait, the higher the payments will be until hitting age 70.
But as Courtney Alev, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma, advises, Social Security should not be the only form of retirement income people rely on.
"So Social Security is ... one pillar of your retirement savings," she said. "If you want to keep up your lifestyle, similar cost of living, your overall income in retirement should be about 70 to 90% of your income before retirement. It's not 100% because, ideally, you're saving for retirement through your earning journey."
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There are various retirement calculators, such as one offered by AARP, that will give an estimate of how close you are to matching your retirement goals.
Having these tools can help give you a potential target date for retirement.
"The difference between taking your full benefit at 67 starting and as early as 62, it could be a third less per month or even more," Alev said. "And so ... it might be something where, hey, it's worth it for me to take it earlier because I also have these other sources of income."
Because Social Security undergoes an annual adjustment, Alev recommends not worrying too much about inflation when calculating future Social Security income. This year, Social Security had an 8.7% rate adjustment.
"I don't think people need to try to predict exactly what's a specific rate of inflation going to be," she said.
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For those not nearing retirement age, one thing to consider is the political discussion surrounding the solvency of Social Security. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security could become insolvent by 2023.
While insolvency does not mean Social Security is completely out of funds, it could mean that unless fixes are made, future Social Security recipients might not get the full benefits they paid into.
Alev noted that elected officials have stated a desire to shore up Social Security to prevent it from becoming insolvent. But it is a factor those who are years away from retirement might have to consider when preparing for their later years.
"There's a lot of things that could change in the next 10 years," she said. "But as an everyday consumer, what I can do is figure out how can I be saving more in the variety of vehicles available to me to position myself the best that I can with all the unknowns."
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