Women should keep an eye on Social Security benefits

Will Social Security be enough? Women need to start planning early to ensure they have a strong post-retirement future.

Retirement planning should be a main focus of today’s women. Because of current trends, it is no longer sufficient to depend solely on a spouse or employer to provide financial security at retirement age. Women – regardless of their marital status – should take measures to save for retirement every year.

Women take care of many people: children, aging parents and spouses in addition to working outside the home. Often these same women earn less than their male counterparts over their lifetime. Most women are not covered by private employer-sponsored retirement plans, and therefore depend on Social Security, personal savings and investments for retirement income.

Social Security plays an important role in providing a basic level of economic security for women.

Nearly 60 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women. According to the Social Security Administration booklet, “What Every Woman Should Know,” “Social Security offers a basic level of protection to all women covered by this program. When women work, they pay taxes into the Social Security system, providing for their own benefits. In addition, their husbands’ earnings can give them Social Security coverage as well.”

The Social Security Administration agency has just expanded their services online by allowing people to create a personalized my Social Security account online. “We are making it even easier for people to do their business with us from the comfort of their home, office or library,” said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. “I encourage people of all ages to take advantage of our award-winning online services and check out the new features available through an online my Social Security account.” By creating this account, people can access their benefit verification letter, payment history and earning record instantly using their online account.

Social Security is an important part of an overall retirement plan but it cannot be depended upon to cover all living expenses in retirement. Women must assess their retirement needs at an early age and begin investing in IRA’s or 401k programs to have the means to live comfortably in retirement. It is vital for women of every age to review their own retirement as part of the family retirement plan to ensure that they have a strong independent financial future.

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