Retire on your own terms
Bartels, Social Security district manager in
Send a link to a friend
[April 13, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD -- Most Americans
are aware that they need to save for retirement. It is a topic that
is easy to brush aside to a later date because, although the subject
is important, it may not seem urgent.
But the longer you put off some basic retirement planning, the
harder it will be to catch up later.
Now is the perfect time to
give it some thought, as National Retirement Planning Week takes
place in April.
We'd like to share with you a few important items about Social
Security retirement benefits.
When you decide to retire, the easiest and most convenient way to
do it is right from the comfort of your home or office computer. Go
to www.socialsecurity.gov, where you can apply for retirement
benefits in as little as 15 minutes. In most cases, there are no
forms to sign or documents to send. Once you submit your electronic
application, that's it.
In addition to using the award-winning Social Security website,
you can call toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or
visit the Social Security office nearest you. Either way you choose
to apply, be sure to have your bank account information handy so
your payments can be set up to be deposited directly into your
Your age when you start to receive Social Security makes a
difference in your benefit amount. The full retirement age -- the
age at which 100 percent of retirement benefits are payable -- has
been gradually rising from age 65 to age 67. You can retire as early
as age 62, but if benefits start before you reach your full
retirement age, your monthly payment is reduced. Find out what your
full retirement age is by typing in your year of birth at
You also can choose to keep working beyond your full retirement
age to take advantage of a larger payment. Your benefit will
increase automatically each year from the time you reach your full
retirement age until you start receiving your benefits or until you
reach age 70.
The decision of when to retire is personal and depends on a
number of factors. To help, we suggest you read the online fact
sheet "When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits," available at
[to top of second column]
You may want to consider your options by using Social Security's
Retirement Estimator to get instant, personalized estimates of
future benefits. You can plug in different retirement ages and
scenarios to help you make a more informed retirement decision. Try
it out at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.
You can also take advantage of Social Security's latest and
extremely popular service by setting up an online "my Social
Security" account. You can use this to obtain a copy of your Social
Security statement in order to check your earnings record and see
estimates of the retirement, disability and survivor benefits you
and your family may receive. Visit
Another great website for financial planning -- whether for
retirement or other financial goals -- is available at
www.mymoney.gov. The website features information about how to plan
for a host of life events, such as the birth or adoption of a child,
homeownership, or retirement. The site also provides money
management tools, including a financial savings calculator.
To learn more about Social Security retirement benefits and
options, read the "Retirement Benefits" publication at
You can retire on your own terms, and we're here to help.
[By JUDITH BARTELS,
Social Security office