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January 31st, 2020 by

Being named as the executor of a friend’s or family member’s estate is generally an honor. It means that person has been chosen to handle the financial affairs of the deceased individual and is trusted to help carry out his or her wishes.

Settling an estate, however, can be a difficult and time-consuming job that could take several months to more than a year to complete. Each state has specific laws detailing an executor’s responsibilities and timetables for the performance of certain duties.

If you are asked to serve as an executor, you may want to do some research regarding the legal requirements, the complexity of the particular estate, and the potential time commitment. You should also consider seeking the counsel of experienced legal and tax professionals.

Executor of the estate

Documents and Details

The executor of an estate (referred to as a personal representative in some states) is named in the deceased’s legal will. If there is no will, there technically can be no executor, but the probate court will appoint an administrator or personal representative to carry out the same duties. The person chosen will depend on state law.

A thoughtfully crafted estate plan with up-to-date documents tends to make the job easier for whomever fills this important position. If the deceased created a letter of instruction, it should include much of the information needed to close out an estate, such as a list of documents and their locations, contacts for legal and financial professionals, a list of bills and creditors, login information for important online sites, and final wishes for burial or cremation and funeral or memorial services.

An executor is responsible for communicating with financial institutions, beneficiaries, government agencies, employers, and service providers. You may be asked for a copy of the will or court-certified documentation that proves you are authorized to conduct business on behalf of the estate. Here are some of the specific duties that often fall on the executor.

Arrange for funeral and burial costs to be paid from the estate. 

Collect multiple copies of the death certificate from the funeral home or coroner. They may be needed to fulfill various official obligations, such as presenting the will to the court for probate, claiming life insurance proceeds, reporting the death to government agencies, and transferring ownership of financial accounts or property to the beneficiaries.

Notify agencies such as Social Security and the Veterans Administration as soon as possible. 

Federal benefits received after the date of death must be returned. However, because Social Security benefits are paid a month behind, a payment made in the month of death (for the previous month) would not have to be returned. You should also file a final income tax return with the IRS, as well as estate and gift tax returns (if applicable).

Protect assets while the estate is being closed out. 

This might involve tasks such as securing a vacant property; paying the mortgage, utility, and maintenance costs; changing the name of the insured on home and auto policies to the estate; and tracking investments.

Inventory, appraise and liquidate valuable property. 

You may need to sort through a lifetime’s worth of personal belongings and list a home for sale.

Pay any debts or taxes. 

Medical bills, credit-card debt, and taxes due should be paid out of the estate. The executor and/or heirs are not personally responsible for the debts of the deceased that exceed the value of the estate.

Distribute remaining assets according to the estate documents. 

Trust assets can typically be disbursed right away and without court approval. With a will, you typically must wait until the end of the probate process.

The executor has a fiduciary duty — an obligation to be honest, impartial, and financially responsible. This means you could be held liable if estate funds are mismanaged and the beneficiaries suffer losses.

If for any reason you are not willing or able to perform the executor’s duties, you have a right to refuse the position. If no alternate is named in the will, an administrator will be appointed by the courts.

Let me guide you through your retirement planning decisions. Contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. 

Contact me TEL: 1-833-313-7233.

Retirement Specialist Freeman Owen, Jr.
January 16th, 2020 by

If you receive a distribution from a qualified retirement plan such as a 401(k), you need to consider whether to pay taxes now or to roll over the account to another tax-deferred plan. A correctly implemented rollover avoids current taxes and allows the funds to continue accumulating tax-deferred.

MOST TAX-EFFICIENT WAY TO TAKE A DISTRIBUTION FROM A RETIREMENT PLAN

PAYING CURRENT TAXES WITH A LUMP-SUM DISTRIBUTION

If you decide to take a lump-sum distribution, income taxes are due on the total amount of the distribution (except for any after-tax contributions you’ve made) and are due in the year in which you cash out. Employers are required to withhold 20% automatically from the check and apply it toward federal income taxes, so you will receive only 80% of your total vested value in the plan. (Special rules apply to Roth accounts.)

The advantage of a lump-sum distribution is that you can spend or invest the balance as you wish. The problem with this approach is parting with all those tax dollars. Income taxes on the total distribution are taxed at your marginal income tax rate. If the distribution is large, it could easily move you into a higher tax bracket. Distributions taken prior to age 59½ are subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. (Special rules may apply if you were born before 1936.)

DEFERRING TAXES WITH A ROLLOVER

If you don’t qualify for the above options or don’t want to pay current taxes on your lump-sum distribution, you can roll the money into a traditional IRA.

If you choose a rollover from a tax-deferred plan to a Roth IRA, you must pay income taxes on the total amount converted in that tax year. However, future withdrawals of earnings from a Roth IRA are free of federal income tax after age 59½ as long as the five-tax year holding requirement has been met. Even if you are not 59½, your distribution may be tax-free if you are disabled or a first-time home purchaser ($10,000 lifetime maximum), as long as you satisfy the five-year holding period.

If you elect to use an IRA rollover, you can avoid potential tax and penalty problems by electing a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer; in other words, the money never passes through your hands. IRA rollovers must be completed within 60 days of the distribution to avoid current taxes and penalties.

An IRA rollover allows your retirement nest egg to continue compounding tax-deferred. Remember that you must generally begin taking annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) from tax-deferred retirement plans after you turn 70½ (the first distribution must be taken no later than April 1 of the year after the year in which you reach age 70½). Failure to take an RMD subjects the funds that should have been withdrawn to a 50% federal income tax penalty.

Of course, there is also the possibility that you may be able to keep the funds in your former employer’s plan or move it to your new employer’s plan if allowed by the plans. (Make sure you understand the pros and cons of rolling funds from an employer plan to an IRA before you take any action.)

Before you decide which method to take for distributions from a qualified retirement plan, it would be prudent to consult with a professional tax advisor.

Let me guide you through your retirement planning decisions. Contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. 

Contact me TEL: 1-833-313-7233.

Retirement Specialist Freeman Owen, Jr.
January 7th, 2020 by

Many Americans realize the importance of saving for retirement, but knowing exactly how much they need to save is another issue altogether. With all the information available about retirement, it is sometimes difficult to decipher what is appropriate for your specific situation.

One rule of thumb is that retirees will need approximately 80% of their pre-retirement salaries to maintain their lifestyles in retirement. However, depending on your own situation and the type of retirement you hope to have, that number may be higher or lower.

how much do I need to save for retirement?

Here are some factors to consider when determining a retirement savings goal.

1. RETIREMENT AGE

The first factor to consider is the age at which you expect to retire. In reality, many people anticipate that they will retire later than they actually do; unexpected issues, such as health problems or workplace changes (downsizing, etc.), tend to stand in their way. Of course, the earlier you retire, the more money you will need to last throughout retirement. It’s important to prepare for unanticipated occurrences that could force you into early retirement.

2. LIFE EXPECTANCY

Although you can’t know what the duration of your life will be, there are a few factors that may give you a hint.

You should take into account your family history — how long your relatives have lived and diseases that are common in your family — as well as your own past and present health issues. Also, consider that life spans are increasing with recent medical developments. More people will be living to age 100, or perhaps even longer. When calculating how much you need to save, you should factor in the number of years you expect to spend in retirement.

3. FUTURE HEALTH-CARE NEEDS

Another factor to consider is the cost of health care. Health-care costs have been rising much faster than general inflation, and fewer employers are offering health benefits to retirees. Long-term care is another consideration. These costs could severely dip into your savings and even result in your filing for bankruptcy if the need for care is prolonged.

4. LIFESTYLE

Another important consideration is your desired retirement lifestyle. Do you want to travel? Are you planning to be involved in philanthropic endeavors? Will you have an expensive country club membership? Are there any hobbies you would like to pursue? The answers to these questions can help you decide what additional costs your ideal retirement will require.

Many baby boomers expect that they will work part-time in retirement. However, if this is your intention and you find that working longer becomes impossible, you will still need the appropriate funds to support your retirement lifestyle.

5. INFLATION

If you think you have accounted for every possibility when constructing a savings goal but forget this vital component, your savings could be far from sufficient. Inflation has the potential to lower the value of your savings from year to year, significantly reducing your purchasing power over time. It is important for your savings to keep pace with or exceed inflation.

6. SOCIAL SECURITY

Many retirees believe that they can rely on their future Social Security benefits. However, this may not be true for you. The Social Security system is under increasing strain as more baby boomers are retiring and fewer workers are available to pay their benefits. And the reality is that Social Security currently provides about 40% of the total income of Americans aged 65 and older with at least $47,731 in annual household income.1 That leaves about 60% to be covered in other ways.

AND THE TOTAL IS…

After considering all these factors, you should have a much better idea of how much you need to save for retirement.

For example, let’s assume you will retire when you are 65 and spend a total of 20 years in retirement, living to age 85. Your annual income is currently $80,000, and you think that 75% of your pre-retirement income ($60,000) will be enough to cover the costs of your ideal retirement, including some travel you intend to do and potential health-care expenses. After factoring in the $18,000* annual Social Security benefit you expect to receive, a $10,000 annual pension from your employer, a 3% potential inflation, and a 5% real rate of return, you end up with a total retirement savings amount needed of about $720,000. (For your own situation, you can use a retirement savings calculator from your retirement plan provider or from a financial site on the Internet.) This hypothetical example is used for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any specific investment.

The estimated total for this hypothetical example may seem daunting. But after determining your retirement savings goal and factoring in how much you have saved already, you may be able to determine how much you need to save each year to reach your destination. The important thing is to come up with a goal and then develop a strategy to pursue it. You don’t want to spend your retirement years wishing you had planned ahead when you had the time. The sooner you start saving and investing to reach your goal, the closer you will be to realizing your retirement dreams.

* Social Security Fact Sheet, 2020, estimated average annual Social Security benefit payable in January 2020.

Source: 1) Social Security Administration, 2019

You need a little foresight and knowledge to make the most of your retirement plan. So, contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. 

Contact me TEL: 1-833-313-7233.

Retirement Specialist Freeman Owen, Jr.
December 18th, 2019 by
  • Are you saving for retirement?
  • For your children’s education?
  • For any other long-term goal?

Know how inflation can impact your savings.

Inflation is the increase in the price of products over time. Inflation rates have fluctuated over the years. Sometimes inflation runs high, and other times it is hardly noticeable. The short-term changes aren’t the real issue. The real issue is the effect of long-term inflation.

Inflation erodes the purchasing power of your income and wealth.

This means that even as you save and invest, your accumulated wealth buys less and less, just with the mere passage of time. And those who put off saving and investing impacted even more.

how does inflation affect you

How to fight inflation?

You should own at least some investments whose potential return exceeds the inflation rate. A portfolio that earns 2% when inflation is 3% actually loses purchasing power each year. Though past performance is no guarantee of future results, stocks historically have provided higher long-term total returns than cash alternatives or bonds. However, that potential for higher returns comes with, greater risk of volatility and potential for loss. You can lose part or all of the money you invest in a stock. Because of that volatility, stock investments may not be appropriate for money you count on to be available in the short term. You’ll need to think about whether you have the financial and emotional ability to ride out those ups and downs as you pursue higher returns.

Bonds can also help, but since 1926 their inflation-adjusted return has been less than that of stocks. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS), which are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest, are indexed so that your return should pace with inflation. The principal is automatically adjusted every six months to reflect increases or decreases in the Consumer Price Index; as long as you hold a TIPS to maturity, you will receive the greater of the original or inflation-adjusted principal. Unless you own TIPs in a tax-deferred account, you must pay federal income tax on the income plus any increase in principal, even though you won’t receive any accrued principal until the bond matures. When interest rates rise, the value of existing bonds will typically fall on the secondary market. However, changing rates and secondary-market values should not affect the principal of bonds held to maturity.

Diversify Your Portfolio!

Spending your assets across a variety of investments that may respond differently to market conditions is one way to help manage inflation risk. However, diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against a loss; it is a method used to help manage investment risk.

All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there is no guarantee that any investment will be worth what you paid for it when you sell.

Don’t allow inflation to catch you off guard. You need a little foresight and knowledge to make the most of your retirement plan. So, contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. 

Contact me TEL: 1-833-313-7233.

Retirement Specialist Freeman Owen, Jr.
December 11th, 2019 by

There are a number of different gifting strategies available for planned giving. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Gifting Strategies - retirement planning with Freeman Owen, Jr.

Instead of making an outright gift, you could choose to use a charitable lead trust. With a charitable lead trust, your gift is placed in a trust. The recipient of the gift draws the income from this trust. Upon your death, your heirs will receive the principal with little or no estate tax.

If you prefer to retain an income interest in your gift, you could use a pooled income fund, a charitable remainder unitrust, or a charitable remainder annuity trust. With each of these strategies, you receive the income generated by your gift, and the recipient receives the principal upon your death.

Finally, you could purchase a life insurance policy and name the charitable organization as the owner and beneficiary of the policy. This would enable you to make a large future gift at a potentially low current cost.

The cost and availability of life insurance depend on factors such as age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Before implementing a strategy involving life insurance, it would be prudent to make sure that you are insurable.

As with most financial decisions, there are expenses associated with the purchase of life insurance. Policies commonly have contract limitations, fees, and charges, which can include mortality and expense charges. Most have surrender charges that are assessed during the early years of the contract if the contract owner surrenders the policy; plus, there could be income tax implications. Any guarantees are contingent on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing company. Life insurance is not guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency; they are not deposits of, nor are they guaranteed or endorsed by, any bank or savings association.

 AdvantagesDisadvantages
Outright GiftDeductible for income taxes.No retained interest.
Charitable Lead TrustA current gift to charity.

Current income tax deduction.

Pass assets to heirs at a future discount.
The transfer of assets is irrevocable.

If the current income tax deduction is taken, future income is taxable to the donor.

Donor gives up the use of income for life of the trust.
Pooled Income FundCurrent income tax deduction.

Income paid to beneficiary for life.

Non-income-producing assets can be converted to income-producing assets
Income is unpredictable from year to year.

Income received is taxed as ordinary income.

Remainder interest will usually go to only one charity.
Charitable Remainder UnitrustCurrent income tax deduction.

Avoids capital gains tax on appreciated property.

Reduce future estate taxes.
The transfer of assets is irrevocable.

Qualified appraisal generally required.

Complex administration and setup.

Distributions to noncharitable beneficiaries are generally subject to income tax.
Charitable Remainder Annuity TrustCurrent income tax deduction.

Avoids capital gains tax on appreciated property.

Fixed income.
Fixed payment cannot be limited to the net amount of trust income.

Qualified appraisal generally required.

Complex administration and setup.

Distributions to noncharitable beneficiaries are generally subject to income tax.
Gifts of InsuranceCurrent income tax deduction is possible.

Enables donor to make a large future gift at a small cost in the future.
May require annual premiums.

In some cases, the death benefit could be part of the donor’s taxable estate.

While trusts offer numerous advantages, they incur upfront costs and ongoing administrative fees. The use of trusts involves a complex web of tax rules and regulations. You might consider enlisting the counsel of an experienced estate planning professional and your legal and tax advisors before implementing such strategies.

Planning for retirement is like planning a birthday party. You need a little foresight and knowledge to make the most of your retirement plan. So, contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. 

Contact me 1-833-313-7233.

Retirement Specialist Freeman Owen, Jr.
December 11th, 2019 by
Holiday Shopping Tips

In 2018, Internet retail sales rose by more than 14% over 2017, while brick-and-mortar sales increased by less than 4%. About $514 billion in goods and services were purchased in cyberspace throughout the year. Even so, traditional retailers still dominated the marketplace, with $4.8 trillion in sales.1

Shopping online is especially popular during the holiday season when many people prefer to avoid the crowds and purchase and ship gifts with a few clicks of the mouse. Before you click, you might consider these tips, which could help make your online shopping experience safer and more satisfying.

Connect carefully. Look for https:// in the URL and an icon of a locked padlock, typically to the left of the URL, which indicates a secure connection. Don’t provide personal or financial information when connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot unless you are certain it is secure. If you must use public Wi-Fi, use a virtual private network (VPN).

Protect your identity. Create a strong password if you order through an account. Only provide information that is required for your order. Opt-out of future contacts unless you want further information.

Use a credit card, not a debit card. Credit card payments can be withheld if there is a dispute, but debit cards are typically debited quickly. Credit cards generally have better protection than debit cards against fraudulent charges.

Know the vendor. Ordering online from well-known retailers is generally safer (although even large vendors can be hacked). If you want to order from an unknown vendor, read online reviews from other consumers and check out the company with the Better Business Bureau. Regardless of the vendor, be sure you are comfortable with the return policy, check for additional fees (such as handling), and make sure you’re not signing up for a service or product with recurring charges.

Finally, remember to factor in time for shipping. Many retailers offer free or low-cost delivery with a guaranteed delivery date, but it might not be as fast as you would like — and overnight or expedited delivery can be costly. If you need a last-minute gift, you might have to face those crowds at the local mall.

1) U.S. Census Bureau, 2019

Planning for retirement is like planning a birthday party. You need a little foresight and knowledge to make the most of your retirement plan. So, contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. 

Contact me 1-833-313-7233.

Retirement Specialist Freeman Owen, Jr.
June 21st, 2018 by

four financial numbers

Daily life is full of numbers, and some matter more than others. Here are four financial numbers that could help you understand and potentially improve your financial situation.

1. Retirement Plan Contribution Rate

What percentage of your salary are you contributing to a retirement plan? Making automatic contributions through an employer-sponsored plan is a convenient way to save for retirement, but this out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach may result in a disparity between what you need to save and what you are actually saving. There is no magic number, but one common guideline is to save 10% to 15% of your salary. If you start late, you may need to save even more.

If that seems like too much, you should at least contribute enough to receive the full company match (if any) that your employer offers. Some plans let you sign up for automatic increases each year, which is a simple way to bump up the percentage you’re saving over time.

2. Credit Score

This is the second of the four financial numbers you should know. When you apply for credit, such as a mortgage, a car loan, or a credit card, your credit score will likely factor into the approval decision and affect the terms and the interest rate you’ll pay.

The most common credit score is a FICO® Score, a three-digit number that ranges from 300 to 850. At one time, you had to pay to check your score, but many credit-card companies now offer this as a free service to customers. You should also regularly check your credit report, which contains the information used to calculate your score. You’re entitled to one free copy every 12 months from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies. To request a free report, visit annualcreditreport.com.

3. Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is another number that lenders may use when deciding whether to offer you credit. A DTI that is too high might mean that you are overextended. Your DTI is calculated by adding up your major monthly expenses and dividing that figure by your gross monthly income. The result is expressed as a percentage. If your monthly expenses total $2,000 and your gross monthly income is $6,000, your DTI is 33.3%.h

Lenders decide what DTIs are acceptable, based on the type of credit. For example, a ratio of 43% or less is standard for many types of mortgages, but the percentage might be more or less depending on the specific situation.1

Once you know your DTI, you can take steps to reduce it if necessary. You may be able to pay off a low-balance loan to remove it from the calculation and/or avoid taking on new debt that might negatively affect your DTI. Check with your lender if you have questions about acceptable DTIs.

4. Net Worth

Your net worth provides a snapshot of where you stand financially. To calculate your net worth, add up your assets (what you own) and subtract your liabilities (what you owe). Ideally, your net worth will grow over time as you save more and pay down debt, at least until retirement.

If your net worth is stagnant or even declining, then it might be time to make some adjustments to target your financial goals, such as trimming expenses or rethinking your investment strategy.
Sources:
1) Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 2017

Knowing your four financial numbers is crucial to your retirement plan.

Have you got multiple 403(b) accounts from different employers? We can consolidate them & look at your overall retirement plan. So, contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. Contact me  1-833-313-7233.

Freeman2017-blog2

 

June 13th, 2018 by

business owner retirement planning

Investing in your own business makes sense. Many businesses achieve significant growth each year. However, when you consider that many small businesses fold every year, it becomes clear that banking your retirement solely on the success of your business might not be the best idea. There is no guarantee that your business will continue to grow or even maintain its current value. If your business is worth less than you were counting on at the time you planned to retire, you could be forced to continue working or sell it for less than what you were expecting.

A business owner often assumes that their businesses will be their main source of retirement funds, but that strategy could be riskier than you think. For business owner retirement planning, it’s generally not wise to put all your eggs in one basket. Broadly diversifying your assets may help protect against risk.

Business Owner Retirement Planning Starts Early

Diversification involves dividing your assets among many types of investments. Putting all your money into a single investment is risky. You could lose everything if the investment performs poorly, even if that investment is your own business. Of course, diversification is a method used to help manage investment risk; it does not guarantee a profit or protect against the risk of investment loss.

Consider what would happen if you were to rely solely on the sale of your business to fund your retirement. What if the U.S. economy falls into a recession about the time you plan to retire? If a recession occurred when you planned to retire, it could affect the sale of your business or the income it generates for you.

Likewise, there is no assurance that a larger competitor won’t overtake your market, or that demand for your business’s goods and services won’t weaken because of new technology, rising energy prices, consumer trends, or other variables over which you have no control.

As a business owner, your business is almost certain to provide some of the money you need to retire. By building a portfolio outside of your business & considering the need for life insurance, you are helping to insulate your retirement from the risks and market conditions that can affect your business.

You may be good at business, but I’m a retirement expert.

As a business owner, don’t neglect your retirement planning. Let me show you how to get the most from what you have & create a dream retirement. Contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Contact me  1-833-313-7233.

Freeman2017-blog2

 

June 5th, 2018 by

403(b) plan

A 403(b) plan is a special tax-deferred retirement savings plan that is often referred to as a tax-sheltered annuity, a tax-deferred annuity, or a 403(b) annuity. It is similar to a 401(k), but only the employees of public school systems and 501(c)(3) organizations are eligible to participate in 403(b) plans.

Employees can fund their accounts with pre-tax contributions, and employers can also make contributions to employee accounts. Employer contributions can be the same amount each month or discretionary. Eligible employees may elect to defer up to 100% of their salaries, as long as the amount does not exceed $18,500 (in 2018, up from $18,000 in 2017). A special “catch-up” contribution provision enables those who are 50 and older to save an additional $6,000. Total combined employer and employee contributions cannot exceed $55,000 in 2018 (up from $54,000 in 2017).

Staying in control of your 403(b) plan

Employees have the option of choosing the types of products utilized in their funds. A 403(b) can be an annuity contract, a custodial account, or a retirement income account. It is a good idea to do a little research before selecting how you would like to use your funds. Your employer can provide you with a list of the financial instruments that are available.

Distributions from 403(b) plans are taxed as ordinary income. Withdrawals made before age 59½ may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty unless a qualifying event occurs, such as death or disability.

Generally, once you reach age 70½, you must begin taking annual required minimum distributions. You can receive regular periodic distributions on a schedule, or you can collect your entire nest egg as a lump sum.

Participating in a 403(b) plan may be a good way to save for retirement. Contact your employer to find out what type of plan is available and how you can take advantage of this retirement funding vehicle. And, if you’re planning to retire soon, here are some tips you should be thinking about.

Are you taking full advantage of your 403(b) plan?

Have you got multiple 403(b) accounts from different employers? We can consolidate them & look at your overall retirement plan. So, contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Contact me  1-833-313-7233.

Freeman2017-blog2

 

May 23rd, 2018 by

social security benefits

When did you last review your social security benefits?

Your Social Security Statement provides important information about your Social Security record and future benefits, including a projection of your retirement benefits at age 62, full retirement age, and age 70; projections of disability and survivor benefits; a detailed record of your earnings; and other information about the Social Security program.

To save money, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has stopped mailing Social Security Statements to individuals under age 60. Workers age 60 and older who aren’t receiving Social Security benefits will still receive paper statements. However, you can opt to sign up for online statements instead. If you’re age 60 or older, you should receive your statement every year, about three months before your birthday.

Finding Out What You Have

social security

If you’re under age 60, you can request a paper statement in the mail. However, the quickest way to get a copy of your Social Security Statement is to sign up for a “My Social Security” account on the SSA website, ssa.gov. After signing up, you’ll have immediate access to your statement, which you can view, download, or print.

The SSA has recently started to use a two-step identification method to help protect “My Social Security” accounts from unauthorized use and potential identity fraud. You will be prompted to add either your cell phone number or email address as a second identification method. Every time you enter your account username and password, you will then be prompted to request a unique security code via the identification method you’ve chosen, and you will need to enter that code to complete the log-in process.

Get The Most From Your Social Security Benefits!

Social Security is a big part of your retirement planning. Let me show you how to get the most from it. Contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. Contact me 1-833-313-7233.

Freeman2017-blog2