You don’t want to depend solely on Social Security payments for your financial support during your golden years, but for most people the payments do represent a significant share of their overall income. That means the more you know about these benefits, the better. Here’s a breakdown of some important Social Security info.
Check Your Earnings
The day you started working, Social Security started recording your earnings. These earnings eventually determine your Social Security benefit amount. As USA Today notes, if those earnings are reported incorrectly, you could be missing out on cash during retirement. Check to make sure your earnings record is correct via this site: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/.
How It Adds Up
Your Social Security benefit is calculated using the monthly average of your 35 highest earning years. If you reach retirement without 35 reported earning years, a zero will be inserted for those missed years. That will ultimately reduce your benefit. It’s just a reason to stay in the workforce a little longer if you can.
What You Can Expect
Like we noted above, Social Security is not meant to be your primary source of income during retirement. In fact, if you are considered a “high earner,” Social Security replaces an average of only 34 percent of your pre-retirement salary.
When To Claim
One of the most vital aspects of Social Security is understanding when to start claiming benefits. Ideally, you want to wait until you reach your full retirement age (FRA). You can check what that age is via the Social Security site. You can always claim benefits earlier than your FRA, but you’ll be locked into a lower benefit. Likewise, if you wait until after your FRA, you’ll receive higher benefits.