Visit the SSA Website to Estimate Your Social Security Benefits in Just Minutes

Interested in finding out what your estimated Social Security benefits will be? You can do this online in just a few minutes at You will just need to provide your Social Security Number, Date of Birth and Mother's Maiden Name (and thus I'd suggest doing this at home...not on an unprotected WiFi Internet line).

All you do is visit website and click the "Estimate Your Retirement Benefits" link. After providing your personal information, the calculator tells you your estimated monthly benefit at age 62 (early retirement...and reduced benefits), 67 (full retirement) or age 70. This estimate is based on your actual earnings history.

Generally, if you wait until full retirement at age 67, your monthly payment will be roughly 40-50% greater than if you take early retirement. If you wait another 3 years, your payment will be another ~25% higher than normal retirement. All told, the 8 year difference (62 to 70) results in about a 75-80% increase in the monthly payment. (These rough estimates are current as of 7/10.)

But of course, the decision isn't that simple. If you choose to wait until age 70, you forego 8 years of Social Security payments. So to figure out when to start the payments, you'll have to ponder your life expectancy.

For example, if you strongly believe you'll kick the bucket by age 75, it definitely makes most sense to start collecting as soon as you can (e.g. age 62). But if you live to age 81, it makes sense to wait until age 70 to start collecting as that's a long enough time period to make up the difference in payments. But of course, every situation is different so you should read through for help with the details.

There's also a Life Expectancy Calculator on the SSA site. It tells you how long you might live based on your age and today's date. I discovered that I should live to age 81. But of course, this calculator doesn't bake in your health, lifestyle and family history.

Something interesting I discovered is that, at my age and earnings history, my monthly SS payment is only $379/month more if I max out my SS wages each year than if I earn ZERO from here on out. Hmm, that's not a lot of incentive to work hard...but I guess I gotta keep plugging away these next 20 years to pay the bills.

If you're really into this stuff and want to see what your estimate SS benefits would be under different earnings scenarios (i.e. not based on your actual earnings to date), there are more benefits calculators at