Ask Kim


How to Estimate Your Social Security Benefit

How often should I be receiving a Social Security benefits statement in the mail, and what information does it show? Is this the best way to estimate how much I'll get from Social Security? -- M.D., San Francisco

SEE ALSO: 10 Things You Must Know About Social Security

You'll receive a statement once every five years from age 25 to 60, then annually until you start receiving benefits. The statements are mailed three months before your birthday. But you can get a benefit estimate anytime with a My Social Security account (

The benefit estimate is based on your past earnings and a projection of your future income, which assumes your income will remain at the same level as the previous year until you retire. You could get more than the estimate if you end up earning more in the future or less if your income drops, says Tim Steffen, director of financial planning for Robert W. Baird & Co. The estimate also assumes you continue to work until you take benefits at age 62, at full retirement age or at age 70, so it's less helpful if you plan to retire at a different time. Use the "online calculator" or the more precise (and more complicated) "detailed calculator" at to enter your future earnings estimates.

Copyright 2017 The Kiplinger Washington Editors

More from

See more stories in this category

Back to Previous Page

Ask Kim

When to Toss Tax Records

[QUESTION]How long do I need to keep my tax records in case I get audited? Are there some records I...

Meeting Your First RMD Deadline

[QUESTION]I turned 70½ last year, but I haven't taken the required minimum distribution from my IRA...

Estate Planning for Snowbirds

[QUESTION] I bought a condo in another state and plan to live there for a few months or more each year...

How to Make the Most of a Health Savings Account

[QUESTION]I've heard that the new health care proposals in Congress would expand the use of health...

Savings Accounts for Special-Needs Children

[QUESTION]When you wrote about ABLE accounts for children with special needs a few months ago, only...

Next Page >
Provided by Kiplinger