Now that employees must fend for themselves when it comes to retirement savings, Social Security's guaranteed income is becoming even more important.

A new report by Prudential, "Innovative Strategies to Help Maximize Social Security Benefits," looks at how retirees can maximize their Social Security benefits and make them work for them throughout their retirement.

Many individuals are misinformed about Social Security, the report said, and because of that they make four costly mistakes:

  1. Underestimating the real value of Social Security.
  2. Rushing to collect benefits and then regretting the reduced benefits for the rest of their life.
  3. Not understanding the various ways married couples can integrate their benefits.
  4. Getting blindsided by the "Tax Torpedo."

"For years, financial service providers have warned us that Social Security will never provide enough income during retirement. While this may be true for many, it is an important component of total retirement income nonetheless," said the report's author, James Mahaney, vice president, strategic initiatives for Prudential.

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