10 secrets to successfully save for retirement

Consider Social Security a supplement

A decent retirement takes a lot more than a Social Security check. Even if you're young, it will probably be there when you retire, but it's impossible to predict changes to benefit formulas, cost-of-living adjustments and how retirement ages might affect future benefits.

The Social Security Administration says the average monthly check in January 2014 was $1,184 — and that's not much. You should think of Social Security as more of a supplement to help make up a shortfall, rather than it being your main source of retirement income. This way you can stretch your dollar.

Waiting until age 70 to collect, for example, can result in almost double the monthly benefit you would have had at age 62.

"It's still going to be about 50% of retirement income for most people. You need to have a strategy for Social Security that works with your 401(k) (and other assets)," says Peter Laliberte of Liberty Advisory Group in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.