Social Security and You: What Does the Future Hold?
If youre counting on Social Security to provide you with a secure retirement, think again. Social Security benefits only account for less than half of today's retirees' income. Longer life expectancies and the aging of the population will put an increasing burden on the Social Security system, making your own retirement funding more important than ever.
The exact amount of your Social Security benefit will depend upon the number of years youve been working and the amount youve earned. Retirement benefits are collectible at any time on or after age 62 but can be delayed until age 70. How much you get depends upon when you retire; reduced benefits are paid if you retire between ages 62 and your "normal retirement age," as defined by Social Security, while delayed retirement credits apply if you wait until beyond your normal retirement age. In some cases, your children and your spouse may also be eligible for benefits on your account.
Note that retirement benefits are not automatic, and you must first apply for benefits before you can receive them. Some time is required to process all the paperwork, so plan to apply several months in advance. Regardless of your Social Security options, think of Social Security as only a small percentage of your total retirement plan, and set aside a portion of your income on a regular basis.