For most people, the monthly check they get from Social Security is a vital part of their retirement. It’s also something that you’ve been paying into your entire working life. Because of this, it’s only natural to wonder about how much money you’re going to get when you finally do retire.
Unfortunately, it’s not an easy question to answer. This is because your retirement isn’t based on your earnings for a single year, or two years, or even ten years. In fact, your retirement is based in part by calculating the average income of your highest 35 years of working. Since people typically earn money as they grow in skills or advance in a career, it’s impossible to say just what that average annual income will be. In addition, things like inflation also cause these numbers to be a little unreliable.
For the sake of the question, though, we’ll answer the question this way: How much will SS pay me if my average annual income over the past 35 years was $30,000?
With this, it’s a much easier answer to come up with. Retirement earnings are calculated on a three-tier system, with each tier having a certain percentage of money returned. Here’s how it works (using 2016 numbers):
First, you have to figure out your monthly earnings. For a salary of $30,000, your monthly income is $2,500. Then, you look at the three tiers:
- Tier 1: 90% of the first $856 earned in a month.
- Tier 2: 32% of the money earned between $856 and $5,157
- Tier 3: 15% of moneys earned over $5,157
So, for a monthly income of $2,500, you would get 90% of $856, or $770.40. Then, you would get 32% of the remaining $1,644, or $526.08. When you add those together, you get a total of $1,296.48 per month.
As you can see, once you know the formulas, it really isn’t that hard to calculate. One other important number to know, however: in 2016, the maximum allowable monthly retirement payment was $2,639. After that, it doesn’t matter how much you earn or pay into the system; that money will go to someone else.
If you have any other questions about social security, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!