You may be surprised to see what your Social Security payments are really worth. Get an estimate of your Social Security benefits. If you have yet to retire, call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 and request a form you can fill out to get a Social Security Statement. Your statement will show your estimated benefits, which can help you with your financial planning, too. Suppose you see that you and your spouse will receive about $20,000 per year, once you both retire. That’s the equivalent of having more than $330,000 in bonds paying 6%; this “bond income” will go up each year, indexed to inflation! With a guaranteed income stream from Social Security, you may be more confident placing most of your private retirement savings into stocks, where there is some principal risk but there is also the potential for appreciation.