[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series of Social Security-related columns by AmeriFlex representatives. Click here for a related article.]

As mentioned in a previous Q&A, annual statements are no longer sent out on an annual basis by the Social Security Administration to people younger than age 60. However, if you register at the ssa.gov website, you will receive an email that your annual statement is available for review.

An example of the email notification that you will receive once registering is below:

“We’d like to remind you to review your Social Security statement online. The statement has important Social Security information and, if applicable, estimates of your future benefits. If you are working, we encourage you to check your statement yearly to make sure your earnings record is correct. The statement also will help in planning your financial future. To view your most recent statement, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement and sign into your account.”

Q. Why are Social Security benefits a fundamental part of retirement planning?

On average, for low-wage earners, Social Security replaces 54 percent of income, for medium earners 40 percent and for high earners 34 percent. These ratios indicate how much income must come from other sources in order to maintain the same standard of living. This information along with the fact that the biggest risks for retirees are inflation, outliving one’s assets, long-term care needs and maintaining a reasonable standard of living make it very apparent why careful and comprehensive planning is necessary.

Readers: Email your Social Security questions to bibi.taylor@ameriflex.com.

— Justin Anderson, CFP, CRC, CLU, is a financial planner and Bibi Taylor, MBA, is the Social Security project coordinator at AmeriFlex, 3700 State St., Suite 310, in Santa Barbara. Call 805.898.0893 for more information. Financial advisors and registered representatives associated with AmeriFlex Financial Services offer securities and advisory services through SagePoint Financial Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through AmeriFlex Financial Services, which is not affiliated with SagePoint Financial Inc. or registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, MI, MO, NC, ND, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, PR, SC, TX, VA, WA, WI.