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3 Little-Known Facts About Social Security

Social Security is a key component of people's retirement income. But millions of Americans who rely on the program don't know everything they should about Social Security.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, the Fool's director of investment planning, runs through three essential aspects of Social Security. Dan begins by describing the fact that Social Security's benefits are progressive, giving those with low average earnings a bigger percentage of their pre-retirement income than higher-income earners. In addition, he discusses how some people aren't eligible for Social Security. Finally, Dan looks at the Social Security Trust Fund, noting that unlike investors in the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury ETF (NASDAQ: TLT  ) or iShares Barclays TIPS Bond ETF (NYSEMKT: TIP  ) , Social Security doesn't lose money on the bonds it holds when rates rise and could actually benefit from higher rates in the long run.

Why Social Security is so important for you
Don't stop with these simple facts. Get the whole picture behind what makes Social Security tick and be smarter about your retirement. In our brand-new free report, "Make Social Security Work Harder For You," our retirement experts give their insight on making the key decisions that will help ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.

Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (24)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 05, 2013, at 1:05 PM, pksloope wrote:

    Would make a nice article. Too bad its a video, I don't have time for that.

  • Report this Comment On October 05, 2013, at 1:12 PM, wolfman225 wrote:

    ^Ditto. I'm almost always on the road and the usual bandwidth supplied by public Wi-Fi won't support streaming.

    Is it really so difficult to post a transcript along with the video?

  • Report this Comment On October 05, 2013, at 6:58 PM, Rjdearborn wrote:

    Yes, I agree. I'm unable to watch the video, but would have liked to read the transcript.

  • Report this Comment On October 05, 2013, at 10:39 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    No transcript. No REC.

  • Report this Comment On October 05, 2013, at 10:53 PM, JimV53 wrote:

    Implying that social benefit programs administered by the federal government have so-called trust funds is a disservice. What they describe as "trust funds" fail to meet any fiduciary, accounting, or legal definition. The problem we have is failure (deliberate or unintentional is for each reader to decide) to move away from an archaic, primitive, and inadequate basis for federal accounting at Article I Section 9 Clause 7. There one finds a half-sentence reference to accounting for receipts and expenditures and a decision made to adhere to cash accounting to this day. What foolishness; it means we have a talked about on-budget and a well-hidden off-budget despite the fact that the off-budget dwarfs the on-budget. This means political theatrics about raising the so-called debt ceiling while only counting $16.96 trillion in treasury issues. What we've needed since 1937, the year that Social Security became active, is a change from cash to accrual accounting. That way, $126 trillion in unfunded liabilities would be front and center as it should be while partially offset by projected tax revenue. In that case, the American people could learn the truth; that the US National Debt is greater than $70 trillion. Unfunded liabilities are debt and I for one won't stand for accounting gimmicks that suggest otherwise.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2013, at 9:50 AM, nm0sarerb0r wrote:

    So...if I worked in the workforce for 15 years, then came home to raise children, it would be beneficial to me (if SS makes it) to at least earn $800 per month?

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