Most people work hard throughout their lives towards ensuring a reasonably comfortable retirement. Since 1937, a majority of working individuals have paid into the Federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program through taxes labeled Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) on each paycheck. This New Deal program aims to ensure the prevention of poverty due to loss of income from a wage earner’s retirement, disability, or death.
Like any insurance program, people pay premiums in order to retain protection and under specific circumstances collect benefits back. Since the conditions of benefit payment rely on contributions over a working life, understanding how much to expect upon normal retirement can be complicated. Many criminals take advantage of people unaware of the benefits they should be receiving. Luckily, there are online tools available that make estimating retirement income from Social Security easy.
== Social Security Detailed Calculator ==
The United States Federal Government offers an easy to use online Social Security Detailed Calculator that utilizes actual individual taxpayer data to determine retirement estimates. This tool is superior to others due to the accessing of actual past tax data from government records. The site requests the entry of the following information to locate the proper records: name, mother’s maiden name, social security number, date of birth, and place of birth. This process can only be completed by the actual taxpayer and not by a proxy of any kind.
After entering the appropriate information, the calculator then returns the benefit summary including the monthly payment to expect for varying retirement ages and allows slight adjustments for the current year earnings. The retirement age is the age at which the taxpayer no longer works and begins to collect social security benefits. The benefit size is increased for individuals that are willing to prolong their working life and this is reflected in the summary.
== Social Security Quick Calculator ==
Another option for estimating the retirement benefits from Social Security is the Quick Calculator. The Quick Calculator does not access any records and makes it possible to estimate retirement savings using various input values. Since benefits depend on both the date of birth and the earnings history, the latter must be estimated. The calculator requests a date of birth, current year earnings, and estimated retirement date. The system then returns an estimate for the chosen retirement year along with explanations for all the estimates.
The importance of planning retirement with proper estimates of what to expect from the Social Security system is of utmost importance. When calculating retirement benefits and costs, it is also important to factor in other retirement plans such as pensions, 401(k) accounts, Roth IRA accounts, etc. The United States government’s Social Security page offers an abundance of helpful information related to social security and retirement that complements the calculators.