April is Financial Literacy Month, and there’s no better time than right now to save for your future. The earlier you start saving, the more you can take advantage of compound interest – that’s like “free money” to power up your 401ks and other types of IRAs. Social Security helps secure your future, but it should only be a foundation for a more complete retirement plan.

Part of financial literacy is having access to not just correct information, but your own personal financial information. Social Security has that. You can open your own personal My Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and within a matter of minutes have access to your information from the comfort of your home or office. There, you can do many things, but the most important thing is to view your Social Security Statement.

Your Social Security Statement is a concise, easy-to-read personal record of the earnings on which you have paid Social Security taxes and a summary of the estimated benefits you and your family could receive, including potential retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits. Once you have an account, you can view your Statement at any time. You’ll want to verify that your recorded earnings are correct, because your future benefits are based on your recorded earnings.

In addition to using your personal My Social Security account, you can also prepare for a secure, comfortable retirement by visiting www.myra.gov. There, you’ll find myRA, a new retirement savings option from the Department of the Treasury for the millions of Americans who face barriers to saving for retirement. myRA is a simple, secure and affordable way to help you take control of your future. It’s free and you have zero risk of losing money.

We also offer the online Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator that provides immediate and personalized benefit estimates based on your earnings record. And, best of all, the Retirement Estimator is an interactive tool that allows you to compare different retirement options like future earnings and different retirement ages.

One sure way to stay on top of your financial future is to join the more than 28 million people who have opened their own My Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. The sooner you start planning for retirement the better off you will be.

Garrett Cooper is operations supervisor in the Social Security office in Beaufort.