For Mark Roberts’ Use: As you approach your retirement years, it’s time to start thinking about your future budget. Once you quit working, you’ll be living off a combination of Social Security and the pension or investment income you’ve managed to establish during your career. As you enter the home stretch of your working years, it’s time to figure out how much money you can expect from these various sources.

For an estimate of your future Social Security benefits, go to . In order to receive an approximate estimate of your benefits, you’ll need to answer questions on the following details of your life:

  • your name
  • your Social Security number
  • date of birth/place of birth
  • your mother’s maiden name
  • your expected age of retirement
  • additional information about your future earnings

The online tool will then generate an estimate of your future monthly Social Security benefits. Remember, of course, that this estimate is based on your 30 highest-earning years of employment. If you make significantly more or less than expected in your final working years before retirement, this could affect your monthly benefit check.

You will receive estimates for projected Social Security benefits under the following hypothetical scenarios:

  • You retire early at age 62 (the earliest age at which you can file for benefits)
  • You wait until your full retirement age to file for benefits (age 65 to 67, depending on your year of birth)
  • You continue working until age 70 before claiming your benefits

Having this information can help you to make decisions about your date of retirement. However, it’s important to remember that Social Security was never meant to fund your entire cost of living after you stop working. If you find you’re disappointed in these estimates of your benefits, you may need to reevaluate your retirement funding or your expected lifestyle in retirement. Remember that you still have time to make catch-up contributions to your retirement fund, pay down significant debts, and make other provisions to ensure a more comfortable retirement. Talk to your financial advisor about your concerns, so that you can formulate a plan for your financial future.