Four Thing I Learned From My Yearly Social Security Statement

by Hank Coleman

Here is a little secret nugget into the life of Hank Coleman. I was born in November. So, what does that mean? It is three months before my birthday, and I have received my yearly Social Security Statement from our wonderful federal government which tells me how much money I have earned and paid into the Social Security system, how much I can expect at retirement, how much I could get for a disability, and how much my heirs could expect to get if something happened to me, God forbid. But, my wonderful statement came with a little extra pamphlet this year entitled, “What young workers should know about Social Security and savings”, and I thought that I would share a few gems from it with you.

Social Security Will Still Be Around Through At Least 2037

In my opinion, Social Security is the biggest Ponzi Scheme out there! Social Security may be available to me when I reach 67 years-old in 2046 but not at the same benefit levels. Or, I will not be able to draw my money until I’m really old and gray…like 102 years-old. Even my Social Security Statement gave me a comparison of what my benefits will look like at age 70. Really! Age 70!?!? No matter what, there will be Social Security in some form or fashion when my little toddler children get to retirement age. It won’t be the same benefits I get or the ones my parents received, and they will definitely have to wait forever to draw their benefits.

Social Security Only Replaces About 40% Of Average Income

Social Security is not enough income for you to retire on alone. Most financial planners feel that today’s retirees will need to replace 80% of their current income. You have to save enough through investments to reach that point. 40% from you and 40% from the government will get you there. But, will you really get your 40% from the government in Social Security benefits? I’m not betting on it. In fact, I’m not counting on Social Security benefits at all when I calculate how much I need to save for retirement, and neither should you.

You May Need Social Security Before You Think

One of the most important things that Social Security Insurance provides is one of the least talked about aspects. Social Security also provides disability insurance to Americans should you not be able to work. Statistics show that a 20 year-old has a 30% chance of being disabled before reaching retirement age.

Check Your Social Security Statement For Accuracy

You should check your Social Security Statement each year to ensure that your earnings information is correct. That income is used to determine how much you will receive from Social Security in retirement. You also want to make sure that your name, social security number, and address are correct as well. If you have a major change in your life such as a divorce, new job, or name change, you will want to make sure that they are updated in your Social Security records and on your annual statement.

Social Security is not the best program in the world, but it is the only program that we have right now. It is in every American’s best interest to monitor your annual Social Security Statements.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

MoneyHangry August 28, 2010 at 2:34 am

I just got my annual SS statement too and realized that they have my birthday wrong. So now I have to spend time getting my birth certificate out of the security deposit box at the bank and then have to spend time going to the local SS office in order to get this rectified. And considering the office is only open 9am – 4pm, means that I’ll have to take some time away from work in order to do this. What a pain.

Hank Coleman August 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm

@MoneyHangry – I had never even thought to check for errors like that until now. A day at the SS office sounds almost as bad as a day at the DMV.

MoneyHangry August 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Yea, it was subtle, they were only 2 days off. I was just going to brush it off since they had all my tax info correct, but I figured it would come back and bite me in the ass if I don’t do something about it. I’m trying to find some time during work to go, I can only pray to the SS gods that it’ll go faster since I have every bit of paperwork ready to go. But somehow I don’t think I’ll get that lucky. Still keeping my fingers crossed though.

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