Social Security offers a retirement benefit to workers and their spouses. You can start receiving benefits as early as age 62 (considered early retirement), or you can wait until you reach the full retirement age of 65 to 67 (depending upon your year of birth). The benefits you receive are based on the income you have earned over the course of your life, subject to a maximum amount. To find out how much you can expect to receive, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) or visit their website at www.ssa.gov.

For most people, Social Security provides only a base level of income. The maximum monthly benefit in 2014 is $2,642, which adds up to $31,704 per year. Because Social Security will most likely not meet all of your retirement needs, it is important to develop a well-rounded retirement plan that includes additional sources of income.

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