The Most Important Retirement Chart You'll Ever See – Buffalo News

You can easily make more if you plan

That’s enough to survive, to be fair. For someone with plans to travel in retirement or looking to leave a nest egg to their children, though, that limited level of income presents challenges. Most people will want more.

Image source: Getty Images.

The good news is that this “more” is certainly possible even earning a modest salary in the meantime. The key is consistently saving something now, no matter how small the amount may seem. Even investing a mere $100 per month in an S&P 500 index fund and earning an average of 8% per year can grow to a stash worth around $135,000 over the course of 30 years. Investing that sort of nest egg in good, dividend-paying stocks later in life could supplement your monthly Social Security benefit by several hundred dollars, making the difference between a difficult retirement and a comfortable one.

And for the record, while earning more increases your Social Security check’s size, the chart above also suggests there’s a law of diminishing returns at play here. That is to say, while you don’t lose money by earning more, your Social Security upside wanes the more you make, and the additional upside stops altogether once your income exceeds this year’s cap of $147,000. Ergo, the closer you get to that mark, the more important it is to invest for growth on your own if you want to maintain your current standard of living.

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