Those of us in our 40's or 50's start to think about and plan for retirement. Income from social security benefits is certainly a significant variable in the planning process. Until recently the Social Security Administration made an annual mailing of your benefits statement.

This statement contained a summary of your earning history as well as an estimate of your retirement benefits at various ages. A few months ago the SSA suspended mailing out this useful annual benefits statement (Surprise; even the federal government is cutting expenses!).

This week AARP stepped up to try to fill some of the void by launching a Social Security Benefits Calculator on their website. This interactive tool is free to use even if you are not a member of AARP. The tool walks you through a question and answer format and calculates benefits at various ages for both you and your spouse. You can also customize calculations of spousal benefits with the impact of continuing to work while receiving benefits. The site will also link you to the SSA website to get detailed estimates from their site. Below is the link to this AARP tool.

Then again, maybe you will work forever like those of us who love our jobs.......

(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).