Wright Brothers Day, observed on Dec. 17, marks the day in 1903 that two adventurous brothers in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina took to the air for the first time.
It was a modern miracle at the time and a catalyst for the age of intercontinental travel. More than 100 years later, it’s commonplace for people to fly across the country. Most of us do not consider all the preparation and patience it took to achieve this modern feat of flight.
Luckily, planning your financial future is not as daunting as pioneering modern aviation. Social Security has secure and easy-to-use online resources that can ensure your retirement soars above the clouds.
The sooner you start planning for retirement, the better prepared you will be. Just like building a reliable airplane, you will need finely tuned parts that will work together for you to take flight.
Think of your retirement strategy as a flight plan that propels you higher. We have many resources at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire that help you find the age at which you may first become entitled to unreduced retirement benefits, estimate your life expectancy and calculate your estimated benefits.
These tools explain how much money you will need and for how long — something you can adjust through personal savings, pensions and other benefits.
You can also get personalized benefit estimates using the Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. The estimator shows different scenarios, like how future wage changes or alternate retirement dates will affect your future benefits. Benefit amounts may differ from the estimates provided because:
• Your earnings may increase or decrease in the future.
• After you start receiving benefits, they will be adjusted for cost-of-living increases.
• Your estimated benefits are based on current law. The law governing benefit amounts may change because by 2034, the payroll taxes collected under current law will be enough to pay only about 79 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits.
• Your benefit amount may be affected by military service, railroad employment or pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax.
As you can see, your flight plan to retirement may change over your lifetime. It is important you understand that no matter where life takes you, the long journey to retirement is one of your most important trips. With every right decision, you are making your retirement flight plan a success that will carry you through the heights of your golden years.
It is never too early to start planning. Whether you are nearly ready to retire or if you are just getting off the ground in your career, I recommend you create your own My Social Security account so you can also learn about all the future benefits available to you.
Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to create your account.
Brenda Brown is a public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration based in Fayetteville, North Carolina.