By Elizabeth Gildea
Hard to believe, but it’s been five years since the Social Security’s Retirement Estimator debuted. Within months of first becoming available, the online estimator was praised as one of the best services on the Internet, and it has consistently retained its excellent rating every year.
Results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index show Social Security’s online Retirement Estimator is consistently one of the highest-rated services on the web — even higher than the websites of many other public- or private-sector agencies and companies, including Netflix and Amazon.
The Retirement Estimator is a convenient, secure and quick financial planning tool that lets workers calculate how much they might expect to receive in Social Security benefits when they retire. The attractive feature of this calculator is that it uses your earnings information on file at Social Security, without displaying your personal information. So you get an instant, personalized estimate of your future retirement benefits. And it’s so easy to use.
The estimator even gives you the opportunity to run different scenarios and “what if” situations. For example, you can change the date you expect to retire or change expected future earnings to create and compare different retirement options. This can help you as you plan ahead.
To use the Retirement Estimator, you must have enough Social Security credits to qualify for benefits and you cannot currently be receiving benefits.
Join the celebration! Experience the popular online service now by visiting Social Security’s Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. Then, once you’ve sketched out your retirement plans, you’ll know where to go when the time comes to apply for benefits: online at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Happy fifth anniversary, Retirement Estimator!
(Elizabeth Gildea is Social Security manager in Ames.)