How to Estimate Your Social Security Benefits in Six Steps

To plan smart for retirement, estimate your Social Security benefits years before you'll need the money. Here's how to do it.

Mature man wearing eyeglasses working on personal finances at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You can estimate your Social Security benefits years before you need the funds as part of your overall retirement planning. Knowing what you can expect from social security and then adjusting other aspects of your financial planning to incorporate that info puts you ahead of the game for the future. Here's how to do it. 

Social Security is a type of insurance program for later in life. While employed, you pay into Social Security, typically through payroll withholding. If you’re self-employed, you pay Social Security taxes when you file your federal tax return. 

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Birth YearFull Retirement Age (FRA)
1943 to 195466
195566 + 2 months
195666 + 4 months
195766 + 6 months
195866 + 8 months
195966 + 10 months
1960 and later67

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Kathryn Pomroy

For the past 18+ years, Kathryn has highlighted the humanity in personal finance by shaping stories that identify the opportunities and obstacles in managing a person's finances. All the same, she’ll jump on other equally important topics if needed. Kathryn graduated with a degree in Journalism and lives in Duluth, Minnesota. She joined Kiplinger in 2023 as a contributor.