This year, the maximum Social Security monthly check for someone retiring at 66 ("full retirement age") is $2,663, which is about $32,000 a year. To qualify, a senior must have paid the maximum Social Security tax for 35 years; thus, many clients will receive less—perhaps much less—from Social Security.

"In retirement planning, we provide hard number estimates for Social Security," says Tom Orecchio, principal and wealth manager at Modera Wealth Management in Westwood, N.J. "In most cases, Social Security is an added 'bonus' for clients. However, for other clients, Social Security is a more substantial part of their income, so it can impact their retirement savings and their asset allocation."

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