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Social Security: A Simple Way to Calculate Your Exact Benefits

Wondering how much you'll collect in Social Security benefits? Regardless of how old you are, calculating your expected monthly payout is both easy and important.

Although the process seems shrouded in mystery and accessible only to someone with an advanced mathematics degree, the truth is that the Social Security Administration makes it relatively simple for prospective retirees to learn how much they'll receive each month in benefits.

The most direct way to determine this is to use the SSA's official Retirement Estimator. This references your actual earnings history and spits out three different estimates: one that applies at your full retirement age, a second that factors in your delayed retirement credit, and a third that assumes you apply for benefits at the earliest possible time.

This approach may be challenging if you're still young and expect your income to continue climbing. In this case, it's helpful to know roughly how your benefit is calculated. To discover where these figures come from, check out the video below, in which Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield explains the math behind your Social Security benefits.

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  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2014, at 3:03 PM, MJElsken wrote:

    Actually, the site can give you more than just the three figures mentioned. It can also tell the person how much they would qualify for in monthly disability benefits should they become disabled, and it also provides information on survivor's benefits for spouses and children. Knowing retirement benefits is certainly important, but this additional information could prove crucial for some individuals and their families.

  • Report this Comment On May 13, 2014, at 11:37 AM, greyhound44 wrote:

    Well, I retired 31 Aug 2003 at age 58.75 after having paid 35+ years of SS portion of FICA at the Maximum.

    Collected MAX SS retirement benefits (reduced for age) at 62.

    This IDIOT financial adviser should be so fortunate!!!

    Get rid of this FOOL!!!

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John Maxfield
JohnMaxfield37

John has been writing for The Motley Fool since 2011. As a senior banking analyst, he covers the financial industry and the nation's largest banks in particular. He has a bachelor's degree in economics from Lewis and Clark College and a juris doctorate from Southern Methodist University. He's a licensed attorney in the state of Oregon, and resides in Portland with his wife and twin sons. View John Maxfield's profile on LinkedIn

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