Social Security retirement plans used to be easily relied upon by workers to help pay for their retirements, but the system is much less stable today. The doomsday predictions for Social Security that say it is about to go bankrupt are overstated, but the system is getting weaker.

If you or your loved ones are about to retire and will rely on Social Security funding options, here are a few things to think about.

When to retire

Most baby boomers looking to retire can claim the full amount of Social Security that they have earned beginning when they turn 66. Those now at retirement age who claim Social Security before age 66 will get a reduced payout. On the flip side, retirees can earn more on their monthly payments by delaying the claims process until age 70.

In fact, you do not have to claim Social Security retirement money immediately upon retiring. Many who are able to will choose to wait as long as they can to get a larger monthly check. It makes sense for those who can afford it to wait, as the payout is larger. Talk to your financial planning expert to help determine what is the best move for you.

Sign up for Medicare

One thing that can make Social Security retirement a lot less stressful is to sign up for Medicare, which anyone can do beginning three months after they turn 65. Be sure to sign up between then and three months after you turn 66. This window of seven months represents the initial enrollment period.

After this time, monthly premiums shoot up 10 percent for each 12-month period that you were eligible for but chose not to enroll. An important part of financial planning for retirement includes being signed up for Medicare. Choosing to sign up in that initial window not only saves money and energy later on, it makes all other aspects of retirement less stressful knowing that there is a plan in place for healthcare.

Get online

A surefire way to take control of your Social Security retirement is to go online. For the first time ever, Social Security statements became available online in 2012. That means that Social Security recipients can now check their statements and can make sure that their earning were accurately posted to their Social Security record. These online statements also allow users to see how much they will receive from Social Security on various dates, making financial planning much easier.

Social security retirement planning can be an intimidating process. Titus Financial has Social Security retirement experts that can help you find smarter ways to plan for the future.