November 5, 2013

YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY Davenport, Iowa Office

By Linda Clayton-Powell
Social Security District Manager
Davenport, Iowa

PERFECT RECIPE FOR RETIREMENT

Succulent turkey. Savory stuffing. Green bean casserole. Sweet potato and pumpkin pie. Every family has its Thanksgiving dinner traditions. With a carefully followed recipe, everyone around the table can enjoy their favorite dishes.

If you plan poorly and wait to throw the bird in the oven at the last minute, you will end up with a turkey of a dish. The same can be said for financial planning and preparing for retirement. Follow the perfect recipe and you will be rewarded with a juicy retirement.

Ingredients: one-part Social Security earnings, one part savings, a pinch of planning.

First, start your retirement casserole with a visit to the Retirement Estimator. As useful as a food processor, the Estimator gives you an instant projection of what you can expect to receive in retirement benefits. Just plug in some simple information and the Estimator uses your past earnings and estimated future earnings to project about how much you will get when you retire. Like an experienced cook, you can experiment with the recipe and plug in different future earnings and retirement dates until it is just the way you want it.

Next, fold in the savings. The earlier you begin, the better off you will be. Social Security replaces about 40 percent of the average worker’s pre-retirement earnings.

Most financial advisors say you will need 70 percent or more of pre-retirement earnings to live comfortably. To supplement Social Security you also will need savings, investments, pensions, or retirement accounts to make sure you have enough money to enjoy retirement. Visit the Ballpark Estimator for tips to help you save. www.choosetosave.org/ballpark.

If you have a pension from your employer or a 401k, IRA or similar retirement fund, be sure to add that into the mix.

Like to taste as you cook? Then you will want to set up a my Social Security account so you can log in anytime to check your reported earnings and projected benefit estimates. If something does not taste just right — if your earnings are reported incorrectly or you find you need to save more to meet your retirement goals — there is still time to make corrections before your retirement casserole is done.

Once you have added the ingredients of Social Security earnings, personal savings, and any pensions you may have, it is time to let the retirement casserole bake.

If you pull the retirement casserole out to find it a little underdone, just put it back in for a bit longer. Delaying retirement can increase your benefits and give you more time to build up your savings. To learn more, read our publication entitled When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits. It provides helpful information regarding the things you should consider when making a decision on when to collect retirement benefits. You will find it, along with our other useful publications, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

When the retirement casserole is ready, enjoy it! You deserve a comfortable retirement. Following a traditional Thanksgiving recipe carefully can ensure a satisfying meal. In the same way, following our financial planning recipe will help you achieve a more fulfilling retirement. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.

HIT A HOME RUN WITH SOCIAL SECURITY

Baseball fans across the nation (and around the world) have just enjoyed the 109th World Series. Many fans are already looking forward to spring training, followed by cheering crowds filling giant stadiums, as the new season gets under way.

Baseball is America’s pastime. In the same way, Social Security is America’s cornerstone. Virtually every American knows about baseball, and just about every person in America benefits from Social Security.

These days, more baseball fans watch on their television sets than in person. Many fans have even taken to watching their favorite team play online. Did you know that more people apply for their Social Security retirement benefits online instead of going way out into left field to visit an office and apply in person? In fact, more than fifty percent of people apply for retirement benefits online.

However, just how many people is that? Imagine your favorite full-sized baseball stadium packed full of cheering fans. Now imagine your second-favorite full-sized stadium, also packed full. That is a lot of people, but not even close. Try to picture over 140 full-sized stadiums brimming full of fans. That is how many people have applied online for Social Security retirement benefits. More than six million people!

It is as easy to understand why people prefer our online application at www.socialsecurity.gov versus applying in an office as it is to understand why so many people love baseball. Applying online is convenient — you can do it from the comfort of your home or office with the baseball game on your radio or television set. In addition, applying online is like watching a game on TV — there is no traffic, no lines, and you can wear whatever you want.

Need to step away to refresh your snacks? You can stop and restart your application at any time. However, you
probably will not need to since it can be completed, from start to finish, in as little as 15 minutes. Once you electronically submit your application that is it. You can sit back and enjoy the rest of the game.

When you are up to bat for retirement, join the millions who have applied the easy way: online. You are sure to hit a home run at www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/retirement.htm

Filed Under: Finance, Retirement