How Social Security Benefits Are Calculated. Qualifying for Social Security in the first place requires 40 work credits or approximately 10 years of work. 2 To be eligible to receive the maximum benefit, you need to earn Social Security's maximum taxable income for 35 years.
If you stop work before you start receiving benefits and you have less than 35 years of earnings, your benefit amount is affected. We use a zero for each year without earnings when we calculate the amount of retirement benefits you are due. Years with no earnings reduces your retirement benefit amount.
Based on our calculation of a $2,790 Social Security benefit, this means that someone who averages a $100,000 salary throughout their career can expect Social Security to provide $33,480 in annual income if they claim at full retirement age.
While it's true that the last 3 years you work may affect your Social Security benefit amount when you claim, those years alone are not what determine your benefit dollar amount. Rather, your benefit is determined using a formula, which includes the highest earning 35 years of your lifetime working career.
If you make $120,000, here's your calculated monthly benefit
According to the Social Security benefit formula in the previous section, this would produce an initial monthly benefit of $2,920 at full retirement age.
The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at full retirement age in 2022, your maximum benefit would be $3,345. However, if you retire at age 62 in 2022, your maximum benefit would be $2,364. If you retire at age 70 in 2022, your maximum benefit would be $4,194.
But if you can supplement your retirement income with other savings or sources of income, then $6,000 a month could be a good starting point for a comfortable retirement.
That adds up to $2,096.48 as a monthly benefit if you retire at full retirement age. Put another way, Social Security will replace about 42% of your past $60,000 salary. That's a lot better than the roughly 26% figure for those making $120,000 per year.
For example, the AARP calculator estimates that a person born on Jan. 1, 1960, who has averaged a $50,000 annual income would get a monthly benefit of $1,338 if they file for Social Security at 62, $1,911 at full retirement age (in this case, 67), or $2,370 at 70.
Although you need at least 10 years of work (40 credits) to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, we base the amount of your benefit on your highest 35 years of earnings.
Anyone born in 1929 or later needs 10 years of work (40 credits) to be eligible for retirement benefits. How many credits you need for disability benefits depends on how old you are when your disability began.
Social Security benefits are typically computed using "average indexed monthly earnings." This average summarizes up to 35 years of a worker's indexed earnings.
The only people who can legally collect benefits without paying into Social Security are family members of workers who have done so. Nonworking spouses, ex-spouses, offspring or parents may be eligible for spousal, survivor or children's benefits based on the qualifying worker's earnings record.
You can see that Social Security represents only a small portion of a high-income worker's pay. Those making $125,000 a year will get less than 30% of their pre-retirement income replaced by Social Security.
Those who make $40,000 pay taxes on all of their income into the Social Security system. It takes more than three times that amount to max out your Social Security payroll taxes. The current tax rate is 6.2%, so you can expect to see $2,480 go directly from your paycheck toward Social Security.
For 2022, the special minimum benefit starts at $45.50 for someone with 11 years of coverage and goes to $950.80 for workers with 30 years of coverage. A financial advisor can help you plan your retirement taking into account your Social Security benefits.
Average Retirement Expenses by Category. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an American household headed by someone aged 65 and older spent an average of $48,791 per year, or $4,065.95 per month, between 2016 and 2020.
Here's how much Americans have saved for retirement at every age. On average, Americans have around $141,542 saved up for retirement, according to the "How America Saves 2022" report compiled by Vanguard, an investment firm that represents more than 30 million investors.
So yes, to collect just over $4,000 per month, you need well over a million dollars in retirement accounts. To be safe, we'll round that up to $1.5 million for the rest of the steps.