Your Retirement Planning Starts with Social Security

August 14, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: November 3, 2023

man in storage room looking at laptop Right now is the perfect time to start planning for a secure, comfortable retirement. And you can count on Social Security to help you begin the process.

First, we encourage you to set up an online my Social Security account so you can verify your lifetime earnings record and make sure you get credit for all of your contributions to the Social Security system through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) payroll taxes. If you haven’t set up your personal my Social Security account yet, you can create one today.

You’ll find important details such as your retirement age, life expectancy, and estimates of how much you may receive in future retirement benefits from Social Security.

As you look ahead to ensuring a secure, comfortable future for you and your family, it’s important to keep in mind that Social Security replaces about 40 percent of your pre-retirement income, on average. So, a responsible retirement plan includes planning for more than Social Security.

Here are some more things you can do now to build your financial security:

  • Contribute to pension plans offered by your employers.
  • Maintain and grow savings accounts.
  • Open and regularly contribute to an individual retirement fund.

These steps — combined with your Social Security benefits — will go a long way toward ensuring a comfortable quality of life for you and your loved ones in the future.

As you plan for a financially secure future, please keep in mind that our benefit calculators provide you with estimates — not guarantees. We can’t provide your actual benefit amount until you apply for benefits.

Our estimates may differ from your actual benefit amount if your future earnings increase or decrease, if laws governing benefit amounts change, if you’ve served in the military, or if you’ve had jobs in which you did not pay Social Security taxes.

Social Security is with you throughout life’s journey, from your first paycheck to receiving your first retirement deposit in your bank account. And, as our nation’s most successful anti-poverty program, we’ll continue to provide you and millions of other Americans with financial protections to ensure a secure tomorrow.

To learn more about our programs, please visit our website.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Craig K.

    Where can I find information on backing my start date up to 6 month and taking a lesser payment going forward. Thus receiving a lump sum for last 6 months of payments?

  2. elvisnelson

    i would like to know what would be my retirement benefit from social security after age 65 in adddition to my pension plan as welll , my birthday id dec 22, 1953 i plan to retire at the the of this year december 31st 2018. thank you very much

    • Ray F.

      Hello Elvis! Our Retirement Estimator gives you future estimates of your monthly Social Security benefits based on your actual Social Security earnings record.
      In addition, we have a variety of other calculators to help you plan for the future. Which calculator you choose depends on what you want to do.
      Also, we suggest that you create a my Social Security account. With your personal my Social Security account, you can verify your earnings, get your Social Security Statement, and much more. Happy planning!

  3. leave

  4. Fest T.

    Thank you for the great work you are doing God Bless you.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you! We’re pleased we can help. We will continue our efforts to meet your requirements and expectations in the years to come.

  5. John M.

    It’s always a good plan to save money for retirement.

    I started investing in websites that can provide income by selling ads, like

    Always save for a rainy day!

  6. Beverly

    Thank you

  7. Beverly

    I only make about $31,000 a year and I am 66 years old. I cannot afford to take my SS right now as I would be making a lot less. I was told that I could receive half of my ex’s SS aw well when I apply for mine. We were married 17 years and he did not want me to work, but to raise the kids. We divorced in 2001 and I have never remarried. Is this true?

    • Ray F.

      Hello, Beverly. If You Were Born Between 1943 And 1954, your full retirement age is 66. Full retirement age is the age at which a person may first become entitled to full or unreduced retirement benefits. If you continue to work and are full retirement age or older, the amount you make at work will not affect your Social Security benefits, no matter how much you earn. Also, your benefit as a divorced spouse is equal to one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount (or disability benefit), if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age. If you were born before January 2, 1954 and have already reached full retirement age, you can choose to receive only the divorced spouse’s benefit and delay receiving your retirement benefit until a later date. When ready, you can apply for your Social Security benefits online. If you cannot apply online or you decide not to finish applying online, for whatever reason, you can apply by phone or in person at any Social Security office. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment and to avoid any loss of benefits. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We hope this information helps!

      • Beverly

        So, can I apply for half of his online as well, or do I call and what all do I need?
        Also, I didn’t apply for mine yet as I was told if I wait til I’m 70, I will receive more. I need more or I can’t quit anyhow. If I take half of my ex’s now, will I still receive more on mine when I’m 70?

        • Ray F.

          Hi Beverly. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our agents. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week, thanks.

        • Connie C.

          Yes you can apply for his benefits and online if you want. The ex-husband can even be remarried and he and his new wife will not be affected or even know you applied for his.

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