Benefits planning

Officials at the Social Security Administration this week proudly unveiled a new tool to help people plan for their retirement. Go to the Social Security Web site and just a few clicks and a bit of personal information will produce a quick estimate of your future benefits.

Currently, the administration mails out an annual estimate of benefits, but it assumes your current earnings will remain static until retirement. The new online calculator gives individuals the ability to better estimate their future earnings and also factor in different retirement age scenarios.

"These initiatives will help us better handle the baby boomer wave and make it easier for the public to do business with us online," said Social Security Administrator Michael Astrue.


But one question. Given that Social Security will eventually go belly up without serious reform -- and that there has never been any political appetite in Washington to do anything about it -- will the new online calculator actually inform anybody under the age of 35 that when they retire they'll likely be in line to collect ... nothing?


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