Longhi Financial of Hometown hosted a public Social Security seminar at the LCCC Morgan's campus in Tamaqua on Monday, Nov. 16.

Various speakers talked about Social Security retirement benefits and financial planning.

William "Bill" Coyne, technical expert from the Pottsville Social Security Administration office, showed a Power Point presentation and talked about Social Security retirement benefits to a filled room.

Coyne stated, as of February of this year, over 51 million people were on Social Security. He stated that about 11 million people were on social security in 1946.

Coyne also pointed out that about 74 million people will be on social security by the year 2034, which will be about 19 percent of the U.S. population. By 2016, Social Security is estimated to pay more in benefits than is collected for it in taxes.

Social Security retirement benefits are determined by the highest 35-years of earnings. You have to have paid into Social Security a minimum of 40 accumulative quarters, or 10 years, to receive Social Security retirement benefits. The more total earnings you have, the better your Social Security retirement benefit will be.

Coyne also stated that some people choose to work while receiving Social Security to help with high medical costs.

Coyne also spoke about APPRISE, a non-profit group who talks with seniors about the ins and outs of health insurance. APPRISE's phone is (800) 783-7067.

Coyne also talked about lump sum death benefits, widows benefits, calculating benefits, and related Medicare benefits. Widowers are eligible for benefits at age 50 and are encouraged to contact the Social Security office to discuss benefits.

He also stressed the many things that can be done and tools available on the internet via the Social Security Administration website at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Stanley B. Warner III, CPA, MBA and Juliann Longhi, CFP, both of Longhi Financial, talked about the added benefits of financial planning in addition to social security benefits. They pointed out facts and gave numbers to explain the benefits of financial planning.

Warner stated that the Social Security benefit you receive is based on your earnings averaged over your working career, and it is also affected by the age at which you retire. If you retire at age 62 (the earliest possible age for receiving normal Social Security retirement benefits) your benefits will be lower than if you wait until "full retirement age" or later.

In 2009, the maximum monthly benefit for someone retiring at age 62 is $1,769. This compares with $2,323 for someone retiring at full retirement age (currently, age 66) or $3,054 for someone starting benefits at age 70.

Although 63 percent of baby boomers expect to work for pay in retirement, only 25 percent of today's retirees have actually done so.

Warner also talked about tax exempt investing in relation to Roth IRAs and municipal bonds.

Anyone wanting more information concerning Social Security retirement benefits is encouraged to visit the Social Security Administration website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call (800) 772-1213.