National my Social Security Week!

8/12/2014, 9 p.m.
Whether retirement seems like it is just around the corner or years away, it is good to know that Social ...
According to the National Black Men's Health Network, the average black man barely lives long enough to collect his social security. / Courtesy photo

“We are excited to announce that Aug. 17-23, 2014, will mark our First National my Social Security Week!” said Alfredo Navarro Jr., District Manager of the Social Security Office in the District of Columbia.

Whether retirement seems like it is just around the corner or years away, it is good to know that Social Security is working for you now — even if you are not receiving benefits yet. How? By providing you with the information you need to plan ahead for the retirement you want.

One of the best tools for planning a secure retirement is waiting for you at www.socialsecurity.gov: a my Social Security account. When you create your personal my Social Security online account, you will be able to get your online Social Security Statement, review your lifetime earnings history (and catch any errors while it is easier to fix them), see estimates of your future benefits, and more — important information that can help you plan and save for greater peace of mind.

Opening a my Social Security account online is quick, safe, free, and easy. It takes only minutes. Go to the Social Security website at www.socialsecurity.gov and click on my Social Security. Then follow the instructions for creating your secure, online account. You must be at least 18 years of age and have:

A valid e-mail address,

A Social Security number, and

A U.S. mailing address.

You will also need to provide some personal information and answer some questions only you are likely to know. This process protects you and keeps your information private. There are extra security features, too. You can have unique text message codes sent to your cell phone each time you want to sign in. There is even an address bar at the top of your screen indicating the website has an extended validation certificate. This means the information you provide to Social Security will be encrypted and that the website has been verified by a certification authority.

Once you see your estimated retirement benefits, you can really start to plan, invest, and save with more confidence. You can even explore when you might retire.

While Social Security will be here to provide you with a secure foundation in the future, it was never intended to be your sole source of retirement income. You may want to put aside more for a comfortable retirement.

And once you do retire, or start receiving benefits for any reason, your my Social Security account is the best place to manage those benefits. You can use your account to get an instant benefit verification letter, change your address and phone number on Social Security’s records, and start or change direct deposit of your benefit payment.

More than 11 million people have opened a safe and secure my Social Security account. Join them — take control of your future retirement security by signing up for a my Social Security account. Learn more and create yours today at www.socialsecurity.gov.

It is never too early — or too late — to plan for retirement.