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In the middle of ever-circling evaluations of Americans’ preparedness for retirement, a theme that’s slipped below the surface is the still very valid role that Social Security can play: It hasn’t gone away yet, experts note, and maximizing on its benefits can be an extremely valuable part of a larger retirement plan.

Such was part of the discussion Monday morning as National Retirement Planning Week began with a state of the industry overview from industry leaders, ranging from the EBRI and the GAO to major companies such as Lincoln Financial, BlackRock and Allianz.

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