National Social Security Month

April is National Social Security month.  To that end, just so you are aware of what your current benefits are, you should take the following steps, whether you have retired or not…

SSA.gov

Sign into SSA.gov, the Social Security Administration, and use the MY ACCOUNT feature to see what your current (or future benefits) should be.  This is an important aspect of financial planning for everyone…

 

 

Above, you see my current statement (with my income whited out 😆 ).  When I hit age 67 (20 years from now as I write this in 2018) I am scheduled to get $2007 a month from the government,  That isn’t going to be all that much in 2038, which brings up a HUGE point about Social Security…

It was never meant to be your sole source of income in retirement. This is something that most people neglect.  As things stand right now almost 50% of American families do not have any retirement savings.  So the time to start shoring up your retirement accounts is now!

Learn New Strategies

Are there ways you can actually increase your benefits?  Can you work with your spouse where one takes their benefit early and the other spouse waits and collects theirs later?

Absolutely there are.

The problem is that most of the strategies are not well-known.

That means you need to educate yourself.  So to do this one odd the best ways to do so is simply to start reading. I recently bought “Social Security for Dummies” and felt it was a overall good read.  The book did have some issues.  It would point out a concept and then rather than explaining it would direct you to the Social Security website.

I can understand why this is.  The program is changing and under massive financial pressure (see below).  This means some of the concepts discussed today might not be available by the time you try them

Personally Assess Social Security

What I mean here is that you need to make a personal assessment if the program is going to be there for you when you retire.  We are headed into politics here and everyone has an opinion.  So you need to formulate yours based on facts and not on rhetoric.

As the SSA states themselves

The concepts of solvency, sustainability, and budget impact are common in discussions of Social Security, but are not well understood. Currently, the Social Security Board of Trustees projects program cost to rise by 2035 so that taxes will be enough to pay for only 75 percent of scheduled benefits. This increase in cost results from population aging, not because we are living longer, but because birth rates dropped from three to two children per woman. Importantly, this shortfall is basically stable after 2035; adjustments to taxes or benefits that offset the effects of the lower birth rate may restore solvency for the Social Security program on a sustainable basis for the foreseeable future. Finally, as Treasury debt securities (trust fund assets) are redeemed in the future, they will just be replaced with public debt. If trust fund assets are exhausted without reform, benefits will necessarily be lowered with no effect on budget deficits.

So if the program is going belly-up in 2035, should you be counting it for your long term future?  That is a personal decision.  But base yours on facts and not rhetoric.

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