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Thinking About Retiring?

Some Things To Consider About Social Security And Retirement

Retirement can have more than one meaning these days. It can mean that you have applied for Social Security retirement benefits...or that you are no longer working. Or it can mean that you have chosen to receive Social Security while still working, either full or part-time. All of these choices are available to you. And your retirement decisions can have very real effects on your ability to maintain a comfortable retirement.

If you retire early, you may not have enough income to enjoy the years ahead of you. Likewise, if your retire late, you'll have a larger income, but fewer years to enjoy it. Everyone need to try to find the right balance, based on his or her own circumstances.

What is the best option for you?

Everyone's situation is different. That is why Social Security has created several retirement planners to help you decide what would be best for you and your family. Social Security has a new online calculator that can provide immediate and accurate retirement benefit estimates to help you plan for your retirement.

The online Retirement Estimator is a convenient, secure and quick financial planning tool. It uses your own earnings record information, thereby eliminating any need to manually key in years of earning information. The estimator also will let you create "what if" scenarios. You can, for example, change your "stop work" date or expected future earnings to create and compare different retirement options. To use the Retirement Estimator, go to our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

There is one more thing you should remember as you crunch the numbers for your retirement. You may need your income to be sufficient for a long time, because people are living longer than ever before, and generally, women tend to live longer than men. For example:

  • The typical 65-year-old today will live to age 83;
  • One in four 65-year-olds will live to age 90; and
  • One in 10 65-year-olds will live to age 95.

Once you decide on the best age for you to actually retire, remember to complete your application three months before the month in which you want retirement benefits to begin.

Don't forget Medicare

Even if you don't plan to receive monthly benefits, you should sign up for Medicare three months before reaching age 65. Otherwise, your Medicare medical insurance, as well as prescription drug coverage, could be delayed and you could be charged higher premiums. For more information about eligibility and costs, visit www.medicare.gov.

It's so easy to apply online for benefits

The easiest way to apply for Social Security retirement benefits is to go online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyforbenefits. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY number, 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to apply by phone. You also can apply at any Social Security office. To avoid having to wait, call first to make an appointment.

This information is provided by the Social Security Administration. For more information about Social Security benefits and Medicare, contact your local Social Security Administration office or go online to www.socialsecurity.gov for the latest updates on benefits and filing requirements.

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