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Your retirement planning starts with Social Security

Right now is the perfect time to start planning for a secure, comfortable retirement. And you can count on Social Security to help you begin the process.

First, we encourage you to set up an online my Social Security account so you can verify your lifetime earnings record and make sure you get credit for all of your contributions to the Social Security system through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) payroll taxes. If you haven't set up your personal my Social Security account yet, you can do so at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Then, you can use your earnings history and our online retirement estimators and calculators to get a glimpse of what your Social Security retirement future looks like. You'll find important details such as your retirement age, life expectancy, and estimates of how much you may receive in future retirement benefits from Social Security.

As you look ahead to ensuring a secure, comfortable future for you and your family, it's important to keep in mind that Social Security replaces about 40 percent of your pre-retirement income, on average. So, a responsible retirement plan includes planning for more than Social Security.

Here are some more things you can do now to build your financial security:

• Contribute to pension plans offered by your employers;

• Maintain and grow savings accounts; and

• Open and regularly contribute to an individual retirement fund.

These steps — combined with your Social Security benefits — will go a long way toward ensuring a comfortable quality of life for you and your loved ones in the future.

If you don't already have a retirement account, you can start one today by visiting www.myra.gov. Developed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, myRA offers those without an employer-sponsored retirement plan an affordable and secure way to save for later in life. As you plan for a financially secure future, please keep in mind that our Retirement Estimator and benefit calculators provide you with estimates — not guarantees. We can't provide your actual benefit amount until you apply for benefits.

Our estimates may differ from your actual benefit amount if your future earnings increase or decrease, if laws governing benefit amounts change, if you've served in the military, or if you've had jobs in which you did not pay Social Security taxes.

Social Security is with you throughout life's journey, from your first paycheck to receiving your first retirement deposit in your bank account. And, as our nation's most successful anti-poverty program, we'll continue to provide you and millions of other Americans with financial protections to ensure a secure tomorrow.

To learn more about our programs, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

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