How to Predict Your Social Security Payout

Find out how big your retirement payments will be.

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Easier ways to crunch the numbers. Workers can get an estimate of their likely Social Security benefits using the Social Security Administration's retirement estimator tool. "If you want the most accurate information, the place to go is to Social Security because they are pulling from your work record," says Setzfand. However, the tool doesn't include benefits you may be eligible for based on a current or former spouse's record or subtract Medicare premiums. AARP's Social Security benefits calculator further allows you to factor in potential spousal benefits, so spouses can make decisions about how to maximize their benefit as a couple. And Boston College's retirement calculator allows you to estimate how far your likely Social Security benefits, savings, pension, and home equity will go toward meeting your retirement expenses. Each of these calculators gives you an estimate of how much you will receive at various claiming ages based on certain assumptions about inflation and future salary growth. But if your income changes significantly from year to year, you may not get an accurate representation of how much you will actually get.

Twitter: @aiming2retire