Retirement tool aid

By Michael Cave


You may have noticed that you no longer receive in the mail an estimate of your future Social Security benefits. According to the United States Social Security Administration, those mailed statements have been indefinitely suspended as a cost-saving measure.

We all know information is power and these statements, along with your IRA's, pensions and savings, are an important tool to help one determine whether they can afford to retire or not. The good news is you can go to the Social Security website www.ssa.gov and check out the Retirement Estimator.

Through a series of easy questions you can get the same information online regarding your SS benefits that was previously mailed to you. In addition, depending on your own personal situation, you can plug-in different scenarios, including when you plan to stop working and future earnings as variables.

Additional services provided on the SS website include how to get forms, publications, locating social security offices and even a life expectancy calculator.

Generally, Americans tend to complain about the information our government provides to us, especially when it's free. Please take an hour or two on a rainy afternoon and visit and navigate through the Social Security website, you will be pleasantly surprised that you did.

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