Courtesy: Social Security Administration
Calculating when you should retire requires evaluating all sources of your retirement income. There are many factors to consider, including your personal retirement goals. With multiple factors affecting your decision, sometimes it’s difficult to see the big retirement picture.
The Social Security Administration secures your today and tomorrow by offering a webpage of calculators to help you plan your Social Security retirement benefits. You can access our online calculators at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/benefitcalculators.html to get started with your planning.
Visit our calculator page and fine-tune your benefit estimate by using the Retirement Estimator if you have the required 40 work credits. Changes in your personal circumstances may cause changes in the number of years you work before you retire. Suppose you had planned to work an additional 10 years before retiring, but now you are considering moving that up to the end of this year. How can you determine how much the difference in dollars will be in your monthly benefits? You can create one estimate with your projected earnings through this year and another that includes the next 10 years. These are estimates, but they will give you an approximation for each retirement age to help you make your decision.
You can also use our Online Calculator if you don’t have 40 work credits. You need to enter all of your earnings manually, but you can project future earnings through your potential retirement date. Again, this is an estimate based on your future estimated earnings, but it provides you with planning numbers.
These three calculators will meet almost everyone’s preretirement planning needs. But, wait, there’s more. Use the Life Expectancy Calculator for a rough estimate of how long you might live. The Retirement Age Calculator determines your full retirement age and shows the differences when benefits are taken early. The Early or Late Retirement Calculator can show the differences in benefit amount if you file early or wait until later to start benefits. You can use the Benefits for Spouse Calculator to find out how your spouse’s benefit changes if taken early. You can access all of these at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/benefitcalculators.html.
Another great planning tool is the Social Security Statement. Get yours today with a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
With our calculators doing all the number-crunching, we make the big picture easier to see. The road to retirement is in the viewfinder and you have your resources ready. Now that you know which calculator to use, you can start figuring your best retirement option for a calculated retirement.
Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay is Social Security’s public affairs specialist in Hawai‘i.