social security
September 25, 2019 8:02 AM   Subscribe

After printing my most recent SS statement, I realized I had some questions about benefits. After lengthy web searches and investigating the SS.gov site, I can't seem to find what I am looking for.

I want to be able to run hypotheticals. The SS site, and most resources I have found, only seem to allow one or two variables, such as intended retirement date and or earnings. But what I want to involves several what ifs. Such as: What if I stopped working now and did not take benefits until 67 etc? Or what if I earned less for a few years that what I am making now? Or what if I earned much more for say 3 years and then stopped?

The hypotheticals can get involved. And maybe there are ways to do this on the SS site or resources I have not located. Maybe someone has created an Excel template? But the the point is I need to be able to look at more than just assuming current earnings and age.
posted by jtexman1 to Work & Money (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Call and make an appointment at your local Social Security office. I've been to mine once and they were very helpful, and kind.

One important variable is the age you are now. If you're 25 don't worry about this stuff! If you're 55 then, yes, these are some questions for which you need real serious accurate answers.
posted by mareli at 8:16 AM on September 25, 2019


There are a number of Social Security calculators. This article has links to and summaries of some of the major ones. There's also SS Analyzer, but that's targeted to financial professionals.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:17 AM on September 25, 2019


I don't know if Real Deal Retirement's Social Security Toolbox is one of the resources you've looked at, but there it is.
posted by davcoo at 8:20 AM on September 25, 2019


Mareli
Yeah, I am 58. So this is on my mind.
posted by jtexman1 at 8:31 AM on September 25, 2019


When you look at your Social Security estimates you should note that when the trust fund runs out of money, in about 2035, the payouts will be reduced by about 20 percent.

Here is the estimator: Calculator
posted by Midnight Skulker at 1:09 PM on September 25, 2019


"When you look at your Social Security estimates you should note that when if there is no change to current law and the trust fund runs out of money, in about 2035, the payouts will would be reduced by about 20 percent."

1) There will be changes to law to avoid trust fund exhaustion.
2) Those changes will almost certainly be a mix of reductions in scheduled benefits and increases in tax rates.
3) Any benefit reductions will be phased in gradually, based on birth year, so the average reductions for someone currently aged 58 will be small.
4) The reductions will likely be targeted to people with higher-than-average benefits, so if you are one of those people, don't be surprised if your scheduled benefits are reduced by at most 3 to 5 percent (a rough but informed guess).
5) Uncertainty about changes in Social Security should be way down your list of things to worry about during retirement planning, far below individual health risks, risk of job loss, uncertain investment returns, and changes in tax law. (There have been relatively frequent changes in tax law; Social Security law hasn't changed significantly since 1983.)
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:37 PM on September 25, 2019 [7 favorites]


Here is the Social Security Detailed Calculator.

You download the program and run it on your PC. Then you can run all of your hypotheticals. You enter the amount of earnings you had for each year and your hypothetical earnings for each year in the future. You can also enter no earnings for future years. Or some years and not others.

Then you enter hypothetical retirement dates, age 62 to 70, to see how that affects your benefits.

You will have to get your earnings history from SSA to enter each years earnings over your lifetime.
posted by JackFlash at 5:08 PM on September 25, 2019


> Or what if I earned less for a few years that what I am making now? Or what if I earned much more for say 3 years and then stopped?

Since SSA bases benefits on the highest 35 years of earnings, for most people who have worked most of their lives the benefits that are estimated now can only go up (if they earn more in the future) but will not go down even if the earn less or stop working altogether.
posted by megatherium at 4:50 PM on September 26, 2019


« Older Swapping big and small bikes on a Wahoo Kickr Core   |   Help me deal with my first accident (and getting... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments