ESTIMATE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS ONLINE
For many, Social Security is a nebulous promise of future support, only worth looking into at the cusp of retirement. But when the unexpected happens, such as a disability or loss of a loved one, Social Security becomes an essential financial lifeline. Whether planning for retirement or thinking about how to move forward from a debilitating life event, it is important to know the benefits you will receive. You can get estimates of your Social Security retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits at any time. The Social Security Administration has an online calculator available on their website. To use it for free, just visit ssa.gov/ planners/benefitcalculators. You’ll have a menu of different options. For simply estimating the benefits you qualify for, select the “Online Calculator.” From there, input your date of birth and your complete earnings history into the required fields. HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT BARK
This will give you an estimate in current US dollars of the benefits you have earned over your working life. This includes your eligibility for retirement, disability, and survivor benefits, as well as the monthly rates you are estimated to receive for each. The calculator is frequently updated to take into account new benefit increases and other benefit amounts, so the rate you calculate today may change in the future. For those planning on collecting in the future, there is an option to display a projected dollar value based on predicted inflation rates. While only an estimate, this calculator can give you a greater sense of control over your financial future. Knowing the benefits you qualify for can help you plan for the road ahead.
• 12 ounces high-quality
semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 12 ounces high-quality white-chocolate chips • 1 teaspoon pure mint extract • 3 candy canes, crushed
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1. Line a sheet pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper. Meanwhile, melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips according to package directions. When the chocolate is fully melted, stir in the peppermint extract, then use a spatula to carefully spread the chocolate over the parchment paper in an even layer. Set the sheet pan aside to cool, about 10 minutes. 2. Repeat the melting process with the white chocolate, and pour over the semi-sweet chocolate layer. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane pieces, gently pressing the candy into the white
chocolate. Set the sheet pan aside to set, about an hour.
3. Gently peel the bark away from the
parchment paper and cut it into slices or break into pieces. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Pet of the Month: Pippin, Jennifer and Brian’s 10-year-old Italian greyhound, is ready for the holidays. Are you?
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