The Social Security Administration unveiled a new online calculator to help people plan for their retirement.

The Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator is tied to a person's actual Social Security earnings record and eliminates the need to manually key in years of earnings information. The interactive calculator lets users compare different retirement options and change their estimated retirement dates and expected future earnings. Individuals can print out up to three different scenarios at one time, in addition to information about their benefits at age 62 (or their current age if they're older), full retirement age and age 70.

"Deciding when to retire is one of the most important and difficult decisions many people face," said Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue in a statement. "The Retirement Estimator greatly improves the information available when trying to decide the right time to retire."

The online calculator is also designed to be secure. It only provides retirement benefit estimates, but does not show the earnings record information on which the final benefit estimate was calculated, nor does it reveal other personal information.

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