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Planning for Retirement: What is Social Security?

social security retirementUnderstanding your Social Security benefits is essential to preparing for retirement. For people with average incomes planning to maintain 80 – 100% of what they earn following retirement, you can anticipate Social Security to provide 40% of your income in addition to your savings and employer-sponsored retirement plans. With just under half of your retirement wages dependent on Social Security, it is easy to see how important is to choose the right benefit strategy to meet your needs.

How is Social Security Determined?

The money you earned while working is what determines your Social Security benefit in retirement. Benefits are calculated based on a percentage of your income; the higher your income while employed, the lower the percentage of benefits you receive in retirement.

People receive benefit statements from the Social Security Administration every 5 years beginning at age 25 through age 60; statements are mailed annually to recipients 60 and older. To learn more about your Social Security benefits:

  • Visit your Social Security Administration Office

  • Contact the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213

  • Go to to review your benefit information online.

When can I begin receiving benefits?

People become eligible for Social Security benefits as early as age 62, though Full Retirement Age (FRA) is 66 – 67 depending on what year you were born. There are advantages and disadvantages based on when you choose to begin collecting benefits.

At age 62, people can obtain their benefits sooner, but will receive a smaller amount than if they waited to FRA. There may also be a penalty if they continue to work while receiving benefits. For those that wait till FRA, they must wait several years longer, but will receive more per month and receive no penalty for continued employment. Should recipients wait till age 70 to collect their benefits, they will receive the highest attainable amount each month, but must wait the longest to use their benefits.

Planning for the Future

When it comes to deciding when to begin receiving your benefits, you must take into account several variables, such as you income, age, marital status, and individual needs. It is helpful to speak with a retirement counselor, such as the professionals at First Reliance Wealth Strategies to help determine the course that will best work for you. Call us today to schedule your appointment to discuss your retirement options.


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