You’re reading this book, so you’re probably thinking about the future — for yourself or for your loved ones. You probably want to know more about the Social Security benefits that could go to you and your family one day and how that money will meet your needs. You may also be thinking about the next phase of your life. Will it be financially comfortable? Will it be a struggle? If you’re like many people, you wonder whether you’re going to outlive your savings. Will Social Security keep you afloat? Can you count on your Social Security benefits? What should you know about the program? How can you find the information you need?

Despite its significance in modern life, Social Security is rarely explained clearly in one place. Not in a way that lays out the program and explains how you fit in, all the protections Social Security offers, and what they mean for you and your loved ones. Not in a way that empowers you to plan right and face the bureaucracy with your eyes open. Not in a way that tells you what you need to know about the rules that affect benefit amounts and eligibility. But understanding this stuff is important — for you and for those who depend on you.

That’s why I wrote this book: to explain the important protections of Social Security in a way that makes sense to the people who earn them and pay for them. (That means you!)

Social Security is big, and it can be confusing. It has an endless assortment of rules, variations on the rules, exceptions to the ...

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