The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

February 27, 2014

Start planning early for Social Security

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, held each March in Alaska, is one of the harshest, most challenging races known to man (or dog). Mushers embark on a race from Anchorage to Nome that takes between nine and 15 days. Contestants bear sub-zero temperatures with gale-force winds that can cause wind chills as low as negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit! It takes endurance, preparation, and careful planning to make it from start to finish.

The same can be said for your race toward retirement and Social Security. No one would hit the trail without being ready for the challenges. Similarly, no worker today should be navigating toward retirement without a little bit of preparing, planning, and stick-to-itiveness.

Choosing your steps is as important as selecting the right sled dogs. Your first step in planning for a comfortable retirement is to look at your Social Security Statement, which you can do online easily with a my Social Security account. The online Statement is easy to use and provides estimates you should consider in planning for your retirement. It provides estimates for disability and survivors benefits, making the Statement an important financial planning tool. Your Statement allows you to review and ensure your earnings are accurately posted to your Social Security record. This feature is important because Social Security benefits are based on average earnings over your lifetime. If the information is incorrect, or you have earnings missing from your record, you may not receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled in the future. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to set up a my Social Security account and get started.

Before heading into the snowy terrain, you want to make sure you have prepared for a number of different possible obstacles on the trail. For retirement planning, you’ll want to test out the Retirement Estimator to see how changes in your income, retirement age, and other variables may change your overall plan. Use our Retirement Estimator, where you can get a personalized, instant estimate of your future retirement benefits using different retirement ages and scenarios. Visit the Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

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