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Understand Your Social Security Statement

Understand Your Social Security Statement

Every year the Social Security Administration send out statements estimating your future monthly benefits and recapping your salary from previous years. Aside from filing those statements away, what else should you do? First, make sure your earnings history is correct, since future benefits are based on past earnings. If you find a mistake, contact the Social Security Administration right away. Then, take a look at your payout projection. Understand the projection is an estimate, not a guarantee, and is calculated in today's dollars and not an inflation-indexed future dollar value. (In other words, don't assume the payout will keep up with inflation.) And keep in mind projections assume you will work to retirement age with no reductions in annual income − and no increases, either. Build your retirement plan knowing your Social Security benefits could change, due to problems with the system or due to unexpected life events. But no matter what, make sure your statement is accurate.

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