Retirement Strategy

by Mickie Douglas, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

Wright Brothers Day, observed each December 17, harkens to the day in 1903 that two adventurous brothers in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, took to the air for the first time. It was a modern miracle at the time and a catalyst for the age of intercontinental travel. Over a hundred years later, it’s
commonplace for people to fly across the country. Most of us don’t consider all the preparation and patience it took to achieve this modern feat of flight.

Luckily, planning your financial future isn’t as daunting as pioneering modern aviation. Social Security has secure and easy-to-use online resources that can ensure your retirement soars above
the clouds. The sooner your start planning for retirement, the better prepared you’ll be. Just like
building a reliable airplane, you’ll need finely tuned parts that will work together for you to take flight.

Think of your retirement strategy as a flight plan that propels you higher. We have many resources
at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire that help you find the age at which you may first become
entitled to unreduced retirement benefits, estimate your life expectancy, and calculate your estimated
benefits. These tools explain how much money you will need and for how long — something you can
adjust through personal savings, pensions, and other benefits.

You can also get personalized benefit estimates using the Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. The Estimator shows different scenarios, like how future wage changes or alternate retirement dates will affect your future benefits. Benefit amounts may differ from the estimates provided because:

  • Your earnings may increase or decrease in the future.
  • After you start receiving benefits, they may be adjusted for cost-of-living increases.
    Your estimated benefits are based on current law. The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2034, the payroll taxes collected under current law will be enough to pay only about 79 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits.
  • Your benefit amount may be affected by military service, railroad employment or pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax.

As you can see, your flight plan to retirement may change over your lifetime. It’s important you
understand that no matter where life takes you, the long journey to retirement is one of your most important trips. With every right decision, you’re making your retirement flight plan a success that will carry you through the heights of your golden years.

It’s never too early to start planning. Whether you are nearly ready to retire or if you’re just getting off the ground in your career, I recommend you create your own my Social Security account so you can also learn about all the future benefits available to you.

Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to create your account.

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