Charting your retirement with dependable figures

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

SOMETIMES, the best source of security is information. If you know how much money will be coming in after you retire, you can make plans and have some assurance that those plans will work out. These tables will help you estimate how much income to expect from social security and your own savings when you retire. Although your savings are more or less in your hands, social security is understandably less certain. Taxing social security benefits, for instance, was once considered unthinkable; now they're partially taxed for some people. Additional benefits may be taxed, and today's younger workers should expect to work longer than their parents to receive full benefits.

If you are planning to retire after the year 2000, for instance, you won't receive full benefits until at least age 65. Gradually, this age will be raised to 67 by 2027.

Of course, if you retire early, say at age 62, you can expect the income from social security to be substantially reduced. This is particularly true of today's younger workers.

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Also, if you retire with a spouse, you will be eligible for half again as much monthly income from social security as shown in the table.

To these sources of income, you may be able to add a company pension, plus income or interest from investments, savings plans, or bonds. You may also have income from a part-time job, if you choose to keep working. Many retirees have used part of their nest eggs to start new businesses in their homes.

And you might be able to subtract some expenses, like house payments, the costs of children, and more-expensive clothes needed for work.

Put these figures together to see how much you'll have coming in, then match it with expected expenses.

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