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Old 05-03-2012, 12:01 PM   #41
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The online statement looks like it has all the same information that the paper statement did, but I much prefer the convenience of being able to access it on a computer, rather than having to go and delve into my file box to retrieve the old mailed paper statements I have stashed away.

For some reason, I didn't pay much attention to the section in the old paper statements that told me how much I, and my employers, had contributed, but am certainly appreciating that info now.

Based on a few rough calculations, as long as I get almost all that my current estimate says I will, and provided I live to at least my early 80's, I'll do quite well from SS. If I had worked another 15-20 years, the increase in my benefits wouldn't have increased in proportion to the amount of my contributions. It's interesting looking at these figures.

It looks to me as if early retirees get quite a good deal from SS. From my point of view, this "annuity" was well worth the purchase price, and I'm now really appreciating all those contributions my former employers made.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:13 PM   #42
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Is there an easy way to find what impact retiring at say 50 compared to 62 does to an individuals payouts? Every estimate I've ever seen comes with the qualifying statement:

Your estimates are based on the assumption that you will earn $106,800 a year from now until retirement.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:17 PM   #43
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Don't want to spark another panic for you, but the 30 years of contributions only applies to WEP, which affects your benefit. GPO applies to spousal/widow benefits and will apply.
Maybe there could be a thread on that topic. I know just little enough to ask questions and be aware, right now.

My small pension comes from a combination of public agency work (water and waste water agencies) and teaching in both state university systems. I also had 21 years in SS.

At this point I figure I may file and suspend at 66, let DH collect spousal, and see how everything rolls out. Then he can wait the 2 more years until he is 70 and file on his record.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:19 PM   #44
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Is there an easy way to find what impact retiring at say 50 compared to 65 does to an individuals payouts? Every estimate I've ever seen comes with the qualifying statement:

Your estimates are based on the assumption that you will earn $106,800 a year from now until retirement.
The SS Benefits Estimator on their site at http://www.ssa.gov/estimator/ allows you to create different imagined scenarios in which you specify the age at which you stop working. You can also enter your future annual earnings up to the age at which you stop working, and based on that, receive an estimate of what your SS payments will be when you begin claiming.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:24 PM   #45
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The SS Benefits Estimator on their site at Retirement Estimator allows you to create different imagined scenarios in which you specify the age at which you stop working. You can also enter your future annual earnings, and based on that, receive an estimate of what your SS payments will be when you begin claiming.

I think I found the answer.. It looks like they average out your top 35 years of ss taxable income... so since I started contributing the max in SS at age 25, I guess that means that if I am still working at 60 (and am fortunate enough to still be making the max income)... then taxes I pay towards SS from work beyond age 60 won't benefit me at all.

Also... I guess that means that if I planned to retire at 50, I can expect my SS checks to be about 25/35 or 60% what they would be if I worked another 10 years until age 60...

Obviously if FIRE is possible at 50... the last thing on my mind will be collecting a few hundred more in SS. Certainly not reason enough to keep me working another decade
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:31 PM   #46
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I think I found the answer.. It looks like they average out your top 35 years of ss taxable income... so since I started contributing the max in SS at age 25, I guess that means that if I am still working at 60 (and am fortunate enough to still be making the max income)... then taxes I pay towards SS from work beyond age 60 won't benefit me at all.

Also... I guess that means that if I planned to retire at 50, I can expect my SS checks to be about 25/35 or 60% what they would be if I worked another 10 years until age 60...
I have ran the "quit working at 50" options and the "zero years" of income do not have the negative impact on your benefits that you think it will. It does not drop the payout by the percentages you think it will.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:33 PM   #47
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I have ran the "quit working at 50" options and the "zero years" of income do not have the negative impact on your benefits that you think it will. It does not drop the payout by the percentages you think it will.
I figured I missed something, because I kind of had that idea as well from talking to others who have quit work early. I guess I'll just have to find a reliable calculator (I'll try the link above first).
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:37 PM   #48
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I figured I missed something, because I kind of had that idea as well from talking to others who have quit work early. I guess I'll just have to find a reliable calculator (I'll try the link above first).
I found my notes from when I did this simulation a year or so ago:

Work till 62 and take benefits at 62: $1,668/month
Retire at 50 with no more income and take benefits at 62: $1,431/month
Retire at 55 with no more income and take benefits at 62: $1,559/month

If you defer taking benefits till 70 (which is my plan) then numbers increase significantly for all scenarios.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:04 PM   #49
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Maybe there could be a thread on that topic. I know just little enough to ask questions and be aware, right now.

My small pension comes from a combination of public agency work (water and waste water agencies) and teaching in both state university systems. I also had 21 years in SS.

At this point I figure I may file and suspend at 66, let DH collect spousal, and see how everything rolls out. Then he can wait the 2 more years until he is 70 and file on his record.
Argh. Did some more digging and my income in HS and College was not "substantial." Hence no 30 year exemption. Found the calculator and entered all my years earnings and it drops the payout at 66 about 10% to $1,847 a month. Also just found out health insurance that I can get from last employer went up $100 a month. All I can say is I'm glad we have a wide margin of safety built into our plan. Nibbling away at it already!
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:05 PM   #50
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I found my notes from when I did this simulation a year or so ago:

Work till 62 and take benefits at 62: $1,668/month
Retire at 50 with no more income and take benefits at 62: $1,431/month
Retire at 55 with no more income and take benefits at 62: $1,559/month

If you defer taking benefits till 70 (which is my plan) then numbers increase significantly for all scenarios.

Wow... yeah that is a lot less of a difference than I assumed! Hardly a factor in deciding to work longer seeing that 12 extra years is only worth about an extra 16% in benefits.

Also as I mentioned before, anyone who has the option to FIRE at 50 is not all that concerned about SS anyways.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:06 PM   #51
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From my point of view, this "annuity" was well worth the purchase price, and I'm now really appreciating all those contributions my former employers made.
SS serves an important function and it's nice to have that gauranteed income that can be used to keep body and soul together come what may. But remember that those SS taxes paid by your employer were really and truly compensation that would have gone to you if it hadn't gone to the government. When employers decide to create a position or hire someone to fill one, they do the math on all the costs--insurance, SS taxes, pension/401K matching,etc . That's what the position is worth to them. In the absence of SS taxes and in the presence of a free labor market, employees could be compensated in cash right up to that point. Viewed in that way, most of us would be far ahead if we had our own SS contributions and those of our employers to invest as we choose.

That's not to say SS should be abolished. It provides some important social functions and at the very least probably allows most of us to take some more investment risks (= higher expected returns) than we would take in the absence of SS. But we should recognize it for what it is (a dependable base of income for which we pay a premium). And is not (a program that increases our net worth).
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:22 PM   #52
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Samclem, if we could have back our life or car insurance premiums we would also have a substantial sum of money. Your assertion has a survivors bias and a success bias. The widows and orphans would not be far ahead, nor would those that left the work force involuntarily, or earned the least over their working lives.

The payroll tax paid by the employer is compensation cost and conceptually part of your wage, but in real life you would not get it, the employer would save it.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:38 PM   #53
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Wow... yeah that is a lot less of a difference than I assumed! Hardly a factor in deciding to work longer seeing that 12 extra years is only worth about an extra 16% in benefits.

Also as I mentioned before, anyone who has the option to FIRE at 50 is not all that concerned about SS anyways.
In addition, I belive you can make it almost no factor by earning just a little income ($4,520/yr) in part-time seasonal job of some sort so you don't have the "zero years".
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:40 PM   #54
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But we should recognize it for what it is (a dependable base of income for which we pay a premium).
That's what I like about it - that, and the fact that as someone who stopped working at age 45, it looks like I will get a better deal out of SS than if I had worked another 15-20 years. So although I know that analyzing SS in terms of what you get out versus what you put in misses the point, in my case, I most likely will do well in those terms.

For that reason, I'm glad that the government "forced" me to purchase an "annuity"
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:47 PM   #55
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Samclem, if we could have back our life or car insurance premiums we would also have a substantial sum of money. Your assertion has a survivors bias and a success bias. The widows and orphans would not be far ahead, nor would those that left the work force involuntarily, or earned the least over their working lives.
Yes, a minority of folks are better off. That's why I used terms like "most of us" etc. As presently structured SS is insurance and has other purposes (as I made clear). Anyone who earned an average wage and retires after 40 years of paying SS taxes certainly didn't and won't receive any personal benefit that was "well worth the price," which is why I responded to Major Tom.

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The payroll tax paid by the employer is compensation cost and conceptually part of your wage, but in real life you would not get it, the employer would save it.
It depends entirely on the labor market. Employers always pay as little as possible, employees always demand as much as possible. But the money was there to be paid to someone, the employee's value-added made that possible.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:55 PM   #56
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I think I found the answer.. It looks like they average out your top 35 years of ss taxable income... so since I started contributing the max in SS at age 25, I guess that means that if I am still working at 60 (and am fortunate enough to still be making the max income)... then taxes I pay towards SS from work beyond age 60 won't benefit me at all.

Also... I guess that means that if I planned to retire at 50, I can expect my SS checks to be about 25/35 or 60% what they would be if I worked another 10 years until age 60...

Obviously if FIRE is possible at 50... the last thing on my mind will be collecting a few hundred more in SS. Certainly not reason enough to keep me working another decade
Try looking at this:

Social Security Publications

Look at step 5, and you'll see how the benefit is a higher % for the lower earnings, and smaller % for the higher earnings. As has been mentioned, some of those extra years can have a modest impact on your benefit.
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:39 PM   #57
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Locked out for a second day. Two phone calls to the SSA, about a 3/4 hour in total, were unable to resolve but we did agree on my name and SS#. My options are 1) continue attempting to login ever 24 hours, 2) visit the local office where they will do something, 3) wait 'till I'm 60 when they will send a statement in the mail, or 4) send a written request for a mailed statement. I'll go with 1 and 4.
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:45 PM   #58
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Locked out for a second day. Two phone calls to the SSA, about a 3/4 hour in total, were unable to resolve but we did agree on my name and SS#. My options are 1) continue attempting to login ever 24 hours, 2) visit the local office where they will do something, 3) wait 'till I'm 60 when they will send a statement in the mail, or 4) send a written request for a mailed statement. I'll go with 1 and 4.
If you look anything like your avatar, don't opt for #2. That 'something' they do might involve the cops...
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:55 PM   #59
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If you look anything like your avatar, don't opt for #2. That 'something' they do might involve the cops...
Unfashionable sunglasses?
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:03 PM   #60
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Unfashionable sunglasses?
You're wearing sunglasses?
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