Remember that special green and white report, which includes your retirement benefit estimates at various ages and also a personal earnings history, that would show up in your mailbox every twelve months?
Well, if it seems like it’s been awhile since you last received one, it’s because the Social Security Administration, in cost-cutting mode, suspended mailing hard-copy statements with few exceptions beginning in mid-2011. The info is still available but you’ll need to go to www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement and set up your account. (Be prepared for some deep questions that the agency employs in an effort to thwart identify theft.) We’re urging all of our clients to do this this month as this information is a critical tool in financial planning. It can also serve as a reminder of the need for adequate personal savings to supplement these benefits.
By the way, benefit payments are going digital-only too. If you’re currently receiving Social Security checks by mail, you must switch to direct deposit by March. You can set up direct deposits by going to the Social Security link above or by calling 800-772-1213.
Even though this switch from paper to digital will save the government $70MM+ per year, please recall that this program is “under water” and we wouldn’t be surprised to see these “entitlements” have significant changes in the near future. DWM uses sophisticated financial planning software to address these issues. We can literally stress-test your plan to see what happens if your Social Security benefits were cut or totally eliminated. There are also tools like www.maximizemysocialsecurity.com that we use to calculate maximum distribution strategies.
If you don’t already have an online Social Security account set up, take action now thereby keeping your financial planning up-to-date and making sure the government gets your hard earned benefits to you without any issues.