Get your slice

As almost everyone knows, today is National Check Your Statement Day. Sponsored by the Social Security Administration, it’s part of a broader campaign to encourage awareness of Social Security in general, your statement in particular, and the ways you can use it to plan for retirement.

What, you don’t know about this yet?! It’s a lot like the statements you get for other retirement accounts, only it’s for your Social Security. It offers a summary of an entire lifetime’s worth of taxable earnings, which really puts things in perspective. More importantly, it provides official estimates of the retirement benefits you’d receive at various ages, as well as your disability payments if you haven’t reached full retirement age.

As some have pointed out, the statement isn’t perfect. Potential benefits for your spouse or children are not estimated. This information would be helpful for one of the most important retirement decisions: when to file for your benefit. It’s also no longer mailed automatically to everyone, just certain older account holders. We can’t complain about an effort to save some trees, though. And after all, you’re reading this online too.

But don’t take our word for it. Go ahead – check yours here.

Once you’ve seen your number, you’ll probably be thinking about how to make sure you have enough money from other sources to retire comfortably. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, you may also be wondering how to pay a little less. So here’s a reminder that can help with both: you’ve got until April 18 to make contributions to an IRA, or another tax-advantaged account.

Contribute now, and the money still counts against your 2015 tax bill. You can even open a new account (of some types) now, fund it, and essentially back-date the whole thing to last year. It’s not often procrastinators get good news, especially around tax time.

The other good news about today, as we can’t help mentioning again, is that it’s National Beer Day. Plus it’s also National Coffee Cake Day. (We know. ewww. Why don’t they coordinate these things?) So if the procrastination continues into tomorrow, that’s fine. Check your statement, write that check, then enjoy a slice. If you want to make your own we recommend this classic version. The Moosewood Cookbook it’s from is itself almost old enough to retire, but still going strong.

Image courtesy Katrina Cristy via Flickr Creative Commons