WASHINGTON (7/30/08)--Retirement planning just got a little easier. Last week the Social Security Administration unveiled a new online retirement estimator providing users with a more accurate estimate of benefits, particularly for those nearing retirement age (Social Security Administration.gov
July 21). The new calculator has several enhancements:
* Speed. The new calculator is tied directly to your Social Security earnings record. This means you don’t have to manually enter in years of earnings data. * Accuracy. The closer you are to retirement age, the more accurate this estimate will be. The old paper statements assume your salary stays the same until you retire, which is unrealistic for most people, resulting in less accurate estimates (Boston.com July 23). * Multiple estimates. You can print out up to three different estimates at one time for comparison. For example, view retirement benefits for retirement at ages 62, 66, and 70. * Security. The new calculator doesn’t display your earnings record information used to calculated the final benefits estimate, nor does it display any personal information such as address, earnings, or other information that could lead to identity theft.
Stay tuned. This fall the Social Security Administration plans to introduce its next initiative: a total overhaul of its online retirement application. Expect the average filing time to decrease significantly from 45 minutes to about 15 minutes. For more information, read “Can You Count on Social Security?” in Plan It: Retire Ready Toolkit.