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New/Improved SS Estimator
Old 08-03-2008, 06:23 PM   #1
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New/Improved SS Estimator

FYI & FWIW the Soc Sec website has a new benefit estimator that imports your own earnings history data (after you identify yourself) & allows for different 'stop work' scenarios.

Benefits Calculators: About the Retirement Estimator
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Old 08-03-2008, 06:28 PM   #2
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Seems that we've seen this before. Did you get it to work for you? I could not...
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:01 PM   #3
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Seems that we've seen this before. Did you get it to work for you? I could not...
Just tried it ... worked OK for me.

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Old 08-03-2008, 07:04 PM   #4
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Got it to work for me. Fascinating results. Although I am years short of the full 35 for calculating benefits, each additional year worked does not increase benefits by 1/35 as you might expect, but more like 1/90. I assume this is because the benefit formula is heavily weighted to count lower wages at a higher percentage and higher wages at a lower percentage. So if I choose to work a little longer it won't be for SS reasons. In fact, it seems a little frustrating that I'm paying more now in SS tax than ever, but since a certain level of benefit is already earned, the incremental benefit to me is almost nothing. Wonder if it would be cost effective to find a non-SS job for the last few years of work.
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:12 PM   #5
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Maybe I went through it too quickly, but it seems if you enter a stop work age less than 62, it will only show your estimate for taking SS at 62, not later. I want to stop working early, but estimate my benefits for 62, 66, etc.

I suppose I could look up the percentage gained for each month's delay, and calculate it myself...
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:25 PM   #6
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Got it to work for me. Fascinating results. Although I am years short of the full 35 for calculating benefits, each additional year worked does not increase benefits by 1/35 as you might expect, but more like 1/90. I assume this is because the benefit formula is heavily weighted to count lower wages at a higher percentage and higher wages at a lower percentage. So if I choose to work a little longer it won't be for SS reasons. In fact, it seems a little frustrating that I'm paying more now in SS tax than ever, but since a certain level of benefit is already earned, the incremental benefit to me is almost nothing. Wonder if it would be cost effective to find a non-SS job for the last few years of work.
The only non-SS jobs these days are in state/local government. School teachers, police, firefighters, highway workers, etc. Everyone else pays into SS to my knowledge.

If you do find one, it will have a defined benefit pension to go with it. SS will reduce your benefit under the Windfall Elimination Provison. So it's more less a lose-lose situation.
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:36 PM   #7
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In fact, it seems a little frustrating that I'm paying more now in SS tax than ever, but since a certain level of benefit is already earned, the incremental benefit to me is almost nothing.
Imagine how you'd feel if you were self-employed and were paying the employer's half of the tax right now, too. Of course, employees really DO pay both "sides" of the tax, since the employer factors in the entire employee "cost" (compensation, SS tax, Medicare tax, health insurance, etc) and the employee would be paid more in compensation if the employer didn't have to pay the SS tax. Still, paying both sides and seeing the amount is a kick in the gut when you see the puny payback.

But, as Bernstein says "God Bless this Ponzi scheme."

Later added: Thanks for the link. The site worked fine for me.

PBAT: If you want to model a retirement age later than 62, you have to "trick" it by putting a "stop work" age of 65 (or whenever you want to start drawing benefits) and then enter "0" as your earnings. Of course, then it will assume that you'll have zero earning from now until you start drawing SS.
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:47 PM   #8
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thanks for posting - worked very well for me but agree with comment that entering an early RE date only gives projected date at 62
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:50 PM   #9
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Cool thanks for the link. Works ok for us. Didnt try before 62 though.
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:01 PM   #10
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You can bypass the '62 problem' by entering your desired age to start SS as your 'stop work' date. Then you enter some nominal low amount for average earnings between now and then.

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Old 08-03-2008, 08:36 PM   #11
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The calculator worked for me and it confirmed that if you already have 35 years of credits it makes very little difference in future SS benefits whether you keep working until collecting SS or quit working now. Yet another very good reason to retire early.
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:37 PM   #12
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Seems that we've seen this before. Did you get it to work for you? I could not...
It will not work if you have collected SS disability in the past. You also will not be receiving a SS estimate statement each year. Don't ask me how I know.
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Hmmm...
Old 08-03-2008, 09:00 PM   #13
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Hmmm...

No error messages, just... this...

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At your current earnings rate, if you stop working and start receiving Social Security benefits...

At age 62, your monthly benefit will be about...$0.00.
Hmmm. Maybe it knows something I don't. I really have worked and paid into the system. Honest.
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:18 PM   #14
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The only non-SS jobs these days are in state/local government. School teachers, police, firefighters, highway workers, etc. Everyone else pays into SS to my knowledge.

If you do find one, it will have a defined benefit pension to go with it. SS will reduce your benefit under the Windfall Elimination Provison. So it's more less a lose-lose situation.
I wonder. The Windfall Elimination works on pensions received. When I look on the website of my city government, they have a "pension" plan that employees contribute to and the city matches. After 5 or more years of service it can be converted to a pension. Before 5 years they will refund employee contributions and forfeit the employer match and forfeit the pension. So if I'm right there's no pension so no Windfall elimination. They also have a 403b which you can contribute up to same limits as 401k - but no match at all. Might be worth looking into.
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:59 AM   #15
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:23 AM   #16
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I wonder. The Windfall Elimination works on pensions received. When I look on the website of my city government, they have a "pension" plan that employees contribute to and the city matches. After 5 or more years of service it can be converted to a pension. Before 5 years they will refund employee contributions and forfeit the employer match and forfeit the pension. So if I'm right there's no pension so no Windfall elimination. They also have a 403b which you can contribute up to same limits as 401k - but no match at all. Might be worth looking into.
To my knowledge, you are correct. If you don't receive a pension from the non-SS employment, your SS benefit is not reduced.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:25 AM   #17
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Maybe I went through it too quickly, but it seems if you enter a stop work age less than 62, it will only show your estimate for taking SS at 62, not later. I want to stop working early, but estimate my benefits for 62, 66, etc.

I suppose I could look up the percentage gained for each month's delay, and calculate it myself...
They don't calculate a precise estimate for taking it at various ages if you stop work early but that do have a calculator that tells you what the differences are. Depending on age. For example, DW was born in 1953 - her rates are: taking SS at 62 gives her 75.42% of the full benefit she would get at age 66. Taking SS at age 70 gets her 132% of what she would get at age 66. You can plug in your age 62 number and run the %s for someone born in your year..
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:01 AM   #18
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It will not work if you have collected SS disability in the past. You also will not be receiving a SS estimate statement each year. Don't ask me how I know.
My son has paid SS since he started working in HS, through college and continues to do so as he currently works in a sheltered workshop.

You're correct about the statements. He does not get one. I assume because he is already drawing SS under SSD, even though he has past credits and continues to pay SS.

From what I read, assuming you're on SSD till you turn 62 (which he will be) it "converts" to the normal SS program. This makes sense since folks collecting SS in a "normal manner" (after age 62) get it wether or not they are classified as disabled.

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Old 08-04-2008, 08:43 AM   #19
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To my knowledge, you are correct. If you don't receive a pension from the non-SS employment, your SS benefit is not reduced.
Correct, but if you get a pension from non-SS employment, and you have 30 years of substantial earnings, the WEP impact goes away. I am workin for my wife's company to eliminate the WEP impact before I claim any SS.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:12 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by PBAT View Post
Maybe I went through it too quickly, but it seems if you enter a stop work age less than 62, it will only show your estimate for taking SS at 62, not later. I want to stop working early, but estimate my benefits for 62, 66, etc.

I suppose I could look up the percentage gained for each month's delay, and calculate it myself...
I think you have to do it yourself... but they do have the tables by month for each year... so my 62 rate is 72.5% of the full 66 plus year amount... but I did not do my 70 rate...

You would think that they could do this online... but I guess they think if you retire early you will NEED your SS or something...
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