Wondering how much will you get from Social Security?
Here’s the answer: Not enough.
Were you looking for a more helpful and encouraging answer? You came to the wrong place. We’re realists around here when it comes to retirement planning. And it’s about time you got real about Social Security.
If you’re still young, there’s a very real possibility that Social Security will be long gone by the time you’re ready to collect. For decades now the experts have warned that the Social Security system was in dire danger. As the population ages, the percentage of people collecting grows, while the percentage of people paying into the system declines. The latest estimates are that the entire Social Security system will run out of money in about 20 years.
But suppose you’re the optimistic sort. Suppose you believe that somehow the political class will manage to save Social Security.
Then brace yourself. Because even if it’s still around when you turn old and gray, you’ll find that your monthly check isn’t going to be particularly impressive.
Social Security payments are based on how long you pay into the system and at what level. If you make a lot of money during your working life, your Social Security check will be bigger than that of someone who struggled for decades. And the longer you wait to retire, the bigger your check will be.
But no matter how much you made and how long you wait before collecting, you’re going to be disappointed in the payout.
Check for yourself. The federal government has an easy tool that will tell you how much you likely to get in Social Security.
Enter your social-security number and a few other details and you’ll get a handy little chart that shows how poor you’re going to be if you don’t have retirement savings of your own.
Now we realize just how discouraging this sounds. And we realize that many of you will opt not to look at their Social Security report and instead say something like “why bother? I’m young. I don’t have to worry about this yet.”
To which we reply, “don’t be a moron.”
Because if you look at your report you’ll find it also includes a little item that you should worry about right now — particularly if you are young.
That’s because Social Security isn’t just the government’s retirement program; it’s also the government’s disability program.
Read: Retirement Planning For Immortals
And on your individualized report there will be an estimate of how much the government would pay you if you became permanently disabled today.
Believe us when we say that your disability payments will absolutely not be enough to support you.
Go ahead. Look…
See. We told you.
A 40-year old, who makes $40,000 a year, and becomes disabled will get a check for $1,307 a month. Imagine trying to support yourself and your family on that.
The ugly truth is that your family would be better off financially if you died! In that case, Social Security would pay survivor benefits of $1,986 a month if you left behind a spouse and a child.
But don’t despair. Instead, take action.
If you’re young, you can probably buy both disability and life insurance at a reasonable cost.
Do that. Quickly.
Then start your retirement planning in earnest.