BY DAVID M. TAUBE
One of the most important retirement planning tools is now available online. Earlier this year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began providing online access to Social Security statements through a “My Social Security” account.
The statements, which were previously mailed annually prior to your birthday, include a history of earnings, as well as an estimate of your retirement, disability and survivors benefits. This information is an indispensable part of personal financial planning by making available essential data about future retirement income and serving as an unmistakable reminder of the need for personal savings to supplement those benefits.
A survey by SSA to determine the effectiveness of the statement as an educational tool found a clear link between receipt of the statement and understanding of Social Security benefits. More than half of those who read the statement reported that as a result, they increased their savings rate or revised their financial plans for the future. Twenty-five percent said they contacted a personal financial adviser.
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