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How Important is Social Security?

How will losing your Social Security benefits affect your retirement? Use this calculator to determine how losing this important retirement asset could affect you. Click the report button to see your retirement savings with and without Social Security benefits.

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Definitions

Social Security income
Social Security is based on a sliding scale depending on your income, how long you work and at what age you retire. Social Security benefits automatically increase each year based on the rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) the most common measure of inflation. Including a spouse increases your Social Security benefits up to, but not over, the maximum. This calculator provides only an estimate of your benefits. Your actual benefit may be higher or lower depending on your work history and the complete compensation rules used by Social Security.
Current age
Your current age.
Age of retirement
Age you desire to retire.
Household income
Your total household income. If you are married, this should include your spouse's income.
Current retirement savings
Total amount that you currently have saved toward your retirement. Include all sources of retirement savings such as 401(k)s, IRAs and Annuities.
Rate of return before retirement
This is the annual rate of return you expect from your investments before taxes. The actual rate of return is largely dependant on the type of investments you select. From January 1970 to December 2004, the average compounded rate of return for the S&P 500, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 11.5% per year. During this period, the highest 12-month return was 64%, and the lowest was -39%. Savings accounts at a bank pay as little as 1% or less. It is important to remember that future rates of return can't be predicted with certainty and that investments that pay higher rates of return are subject to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments. This includes the potential loss of principal on your investment.
Rate of return during retirement
This is the annual rate of return you expect from your investments during retirement. It is often lower than the return earned before retirement due to more conservative investment choices to help insure a steady flow of income. The actual rate of return is largely dependant on the type of investments you select. From January 1970 to December 2004, the average compounded rate of return for the S&P 500, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 11.5% per year. During this period, the highest 12-month return was 64%, and the lowest was -39%. Savings accounts at a bank pay as little as 1% or less. It is important to remember that future rates of return can't be predicted with certainty and that investments that pay higher rates of return are subject to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments. This includes the potential loss of principal on your investment.
Percent of income to save
The percentage of your annual income you will save for your retirement goals.
Expected salary increase
Annual percent increase you expect in your household income.
Years of retirement income
Total number of years you expect to use your retirement income.
Percent of income at retirement
The percent of your household income you will need to have in retirement income.
Expected rate of inflation
What you expect for the average long-term inflation rate. A common measure of inflation in the U.S. is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which has a long-term average of 3.1% annually, from 1925 through 2004. This is used to calculate increases in your retirement expenses and increases in Social Security.
If you are married checkbox
Check this box if you are married. Married couples have a higher maximum Social Security benefit than single wage earners.


Information and interactive calculators are made available to you as self-help tools for your independent use and are not intended to provide investment advice. We can not and do not guarantee their applicability or accuracy in regards to your individual circumstances. All examples are hypothetical and are for illustrative purposes. We encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding all personal finance issues.