How Much Money Have You Earned in Your Lifetime?

Your social security number has the answer

a hand holding a small clock and putting it in a piggy bank as though it were a coin

Photo by Morgan Housel on Unsplash

Considering the large amounts of time, focus, energy, and our overall lives that are spent working, (ideally, in exchange for money), it seems as though there would be accessible knowledge of its cumulative financial return…

Turns out there is and it’s via the Social Security Administration website.

For those who are curious and have a U.S. Social Security number, you can see your earnings history by using the My Social Security tool. In addition to providing information about social security benefits and services, it allows you to see how much money you’ve made each year based on earnings that have been reported to the U.S. government by you and your employers under your social security number.

To create a my Social Security account, you can sign up for one on the Social Security Administration website. Upon doing so, you’ll be mailed a physical letter with a one-time activation code in order to complete its setup. Once this letter is received and the code is confirmed per the instructions on it, you can log in to your account and click “review your full earnings record now.”

This will show you an earnings record that is broken down by year. Add each of the yearly totals together and voilà, you have your total lifetime (or time period with a U.S. social security number) earnings.

Now, on to the behavioral aspect of reviewing your earnings history. It is reasonable if the thought of assessing how much money you have made in your life brings about various emotions, whether they be dread, uncertainty, excitement, or something else altogether. Our relationship with money is complex and impacted by our experiences.

Because of this, we might as well look at the three scenarios and what they mean:

You made less than you expected: You are a creative cash conductor.

You made around what you expected: You are a cognizant genius of funds.

You made more than you expected: You are a powerful money magician.

Whatever the result is, you made money and are gaining valuable insight into your own financial journey and history. Taking the time to reflect upon how much you have earned, no matter what stage you’re at in your earnings lifetime, helps you learn more about where your money has gone, where it is going, and how much there was in the first place. It gives you a wider perspective to assess, address, and plan your finances — the more you know, the better.

On top of that, if you notice any amounts on your earnings record that seem incorrect, you can contact the Social Security Administration to request a correction and ensure you’re receiving the proper social security benefits you’re entitled to.

For more information on my Social Security, you can watch a video from the SSA here.

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