WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Many people like to get a head start on planning their family's economic future. And without a doubt, a major part of that process concerns retirement.
When planning your own retirement, it's important to consider factors such as your current economic situation, your future needs, and if you will be depending on other sources of income.
Social Security is an essential part in planning your retirement from the work force, and so it's recommended that you get to know some of its most important aspects.
1. Age of retirement
In order to retire and be able to collect Social Security benefits, you must be at least 62 years-old. However, if you begin to collect at that age, the funds will be permanently reduced. If instead you decide to retire at age 67, you will be able to collect your full benefits.
See the Social Security department's Retirement Planner for further information.
2. Necessary retirement credits
In addition to reaching retirement age, you should also have accumulated a total of 40 credits. You earn credits depending on the number of years you worked. Generally you get four credits for every year you've worked.
If you've already accumulated 40 credits and you'd like to know the amount of money that you'd collect during your retirement, you can create an online Social Security account and receive a copy of your benefits.
If you don't have the required 40 credits but would like an estimate of the amount of benefits you'd receive, you can use the retirement benefits calculator.
3. Country of residence
You have the right to collect Social Security benefits even if you live in another country. But if you are receiving retirement payments from another country that isn't the United States, Social Security may reduce those benefits.
There are certain regulations for U.S. citizens and residents, and for those living in countries such as Cuba, North Korea and others. You can find more information about your payments while living outside the United States.
Use this tool to see if you can continue receiving your Social Security Payments abroad.
Applying for retirement benefits and other information
If you'd like to receive more information, get in touch with Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or at 1-800-325-0778 (TTY, for people with hearing disabilities).