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Free Online Retirement Tools from SSA.GOV

When I was 16, I remember waiting in seemingly the longest line of my life to get my Driver’s License.  I was eagerly anticipating the independence this permit to drive would give me; the freedom to drive my buddies to the beach, to take a pretty girl on a date, and go where ever I wanted with that little piece of plastic.  I endured that never-ending line because I knew freedom awaited me at the other end.  Not much has changed in lines at the DMV in the almost 30 years since that time. I get closer to needing to wait in line at another government entity; the Social Security (SS) office.   This line too will give independence from the work week and return some of the money that was paid into it for an entire lifetime.  Things have certainly changed for the better with technology since that first line.   Most of what we need to do is available online without having to go to an office and spend hours waiting.

 You may choose setting up an account with the social security office.  It is a great move for those preparing for retirement or those already there.  I set up my account a few years ago and as a pre-retiree I can review what my SS income will be at Full retirement age (67); they also have a retirement benefits calculator that lets one put in the date of retirement and it will estimate the retirement amount on that date.  This calculator also allows you to put in your future earnings and can estimate your retirement income based on higher or lower earnings in the future.  One can confirm their earnings in years past.  Something that gives me peace of mind is I can also see the benefits for my wife and kids if something unexpected were to happen to me today.  Of course we carry life insurance, but the website would let me know exactly how much help my family would get on a monthly basis for my death benefit.    

For those that are ready to retire, or already retired, signing up to this website gives you easy access to order replacement social security cards, benefit letters, or verify your qualification for Medicare, there are helpful articles like discussing when you should take SS income and other issues for retirees.  You can complete an application for Retirement, Spouse’s, Medicare, or Disability Benefits online.  If you do not wish to use the online application, or the application for the benefit you want is not available online, you can: Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778); or Visit your local Social Security office.  The choice is yours, if you prefer the line and in-person service, it is still available.  You may find it much more convenient to have all of your information at your fingertips to prepare for today and for the future of your retirement online. 

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