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Trying to understand Social Security
Old 04-07-2015, 09:45 PM   #1
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Trying to understand Social Security

This may seem like a stupid question, but I'm trying to understand how to estimate what Social Security benefit I would get at different ages. I have read "your benefits estimate" that I get every year from SSA and the numbers seem good, but they seem to assume that I will be working and therefore contributing up until each of the ages that are listed (62, 66+, and 70) what if I stop working early and don't make any more contributions how can I figure what my benefit would be at the various ages if I retire at 59?
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Old 04-07-2015, 10:01 PM   #2
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This topic often comes up. You can go to SSA.gov to use their online calculator, or to download a program that runs on your PC, using income history that you enter in. I did the latter.

PS. SSA says that the PC program is more accurate.
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Old 04-07-2015, 10:27 PM   #3
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Yes, you'll need to use the calculators to figure out the real numbers for your situation. SS only counts the highest-paid 35 years of work history, and you get more "credit" per dollar earned at lower pay than when you are earning more. The bottom line is that most ER's find that the "hit" to SS benefits from stopping work early isn't as severe as they had guessed.
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:29 AM   #4
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If you want to understand how the benefit formula works, the SSA provides a nice example at

Social Security Retirement Benefit Calculation
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:34 AM   #5
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If you want to manually calculate your Social Security yourself, get the documents at:
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10070.pdf
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
The bottom line is that most ER's find that the "hit" to SS benefits from stopping work early isn't as severe as they had guessed.
+1

If you think you'll retire around 59, the difference between their estimate and what you'd receive will be small.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:34 AM   #7
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I use this, thanks to another forum member for sharing

https://docs.zoho.com/sheet/publishe...ba2771b70c1ab3
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:17 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the helpful advise and links.
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