2 votes

So just how does one live WITHOUT Social Security?

Originally published 2011-01-06 20:02:
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With all the energy now aimed at cutting Social Security (and not the Trillion Dollar Wars) by both political Parties (including Obama's own deficit commission), just how then is one supposed to live -- without Social Security?

Many jobs and occupations become unsustainable as you become older and older. People's physicial abilities and stamina simply diminish (through no fault of their own), and also the underlying technologies and skills required change and transform with time so rapidly that even well educated people can become de-facto obsolete in their jobs, and no longer marketable. And the stress level and exhaustion level for many jobs just aren't well suited for people that are in their 60s. Finally, its just a fact that health issues will make older people more frail, more vulnerable, and less effective than younger people. While there are some occupations that can be sustained into old age (successful book author, owning a successful business that's mostly run by others, etc.), many, many professions and occupations cannot be sustained. People simply need to retire, and they cannot just work until "they've fallen and can't get up" (and then how do the bills get paid?). Retirement is a necessity for most.

So to retire at the age of 65, you would need to create a yearly revenue stream for yourself that would support all of your expenses, and could last for up to 35 years.

So if you need $40,000-per-year to pay for all your housing/taxes/health-care/food/utilities/automobile/phone/internet/insurances/and other miscellaneous expenses, then this means one of two things:

1) You have savings of at least: $1,400,000.00 (40,000 * 35 years), and therefore can draw down $40,000 each and every year - until the point where you will eventually be totally broke then at age 100. Of course, if you live up to 100, or you have a major surgery or hospital procedure that Medicare won't cover, or you have some other unforseen expenses, then you're screwed anyway -- even with 1.5 million.

2) Your savings (however much that is) can be put into some investment that will predictably and safely generate back $40,000 a year, and also not lose its principal value. With interest rates at 0%-1% I don't know what the hell that would be -- such an investment simply does not exist.


So please tell me, how the heck do you retire without Social Security? This is just impossible for 95% of the population.

In today's times with the cost of living so damn high, people living from paycheck-to-paycheck, and Employers not giving raises, how does anyone possibly save up a whopping 1.5 Million dollars?

Most people can't even afford to buy one house (and those that do are borrowing virtually all the money).

And where oh where can you ever put your money and invest it in something -- such that it is not put at any risk, and can also generate back a steady $40K or so for paying all the bills over the course of the year?

There is no such investment. It doesn't exist.

So, for people who are not wealthy, what do you do without Social Security.

The vast majority of the people, are going to need it. But if there is some secret alternative investment strategy that I haven't heard about that will magically produce the scenarios of 1 or 2 (above) -- I'd sure like to know about it.

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it's like a burglar escorted by the IRS bashes the door in

and yells at you, the current subsidizer of his well being, "HOW DO I LIVE WITHOUT YOUR MONEY?!" ugh, i don't know. eat yourself or die?

How you survive without SS?

My first thoughts are that you have to know you won't have it and start to develop a plan accordingly. As long as people think it might be there...the safety net will blind them into not doing anything to prepare.

How I am preparing to live W/O SS.

I am 32, Married, 3 kids under 6, single income household. I won't invest in my 401(k) because the government will probably confiscate it soon.

1. Cut out directv, netflix and going to the movies.
2. Replace the two cell phones we use (use them for hotspot internet connection) with a home phone with internet
3. Eat healthier, no eating out, and farm in my back yard and either freeze or can enough food to last the year.
4. Workout and run to keep myself healthy.
5. Build my own solar and wind power. Make my own batteries to cut electric consumption...if not eliminate it. In the mean time start cutting energy costs by layering with more clothes in the winter, taking slightly colder showers, staggering family showers back to back, use energy efficient light bulbs, unplug energy hog electronics when not in use.
6. With savings pay down my vehicle until paid off...save some of former payment and pay for next vehicle with cash.
7. Downsize house, or rent smaller house in country that has a water well.
8. Live in an income tax free state and if it ever happens move to an income and property tax free state.
9. Sell off all unneeded items, including books, electronics, clothes etc. Get down to the bare bones to not have to pay for storage. Sell off unused vehicles, and recreational vehicles.
10. Consolidate trips to save gas.
11. Start making soap, using cloth instead of paper towels, use cloth diapers etc. Find durable replacements for item that are currently thrown away.
12. Allow my kids to live with us as long as possible...until around 30ish. Move in with kids when I retire or when I am around 80ish.

I won't be living like most Americans by any means. I won't be a consumer of high dollar electronics and will be somewhat self sufficient. I won't be able to live in a big city (because of farming and the water well) and I wouldn't want to. I would live a meager life and have everything that I need to live, be happy and healthy. I have calculated according to my plan I can cut my current budget by 50% within 5 years and up to 70% within 10. I have been unemployed before and have had to cut drastically so I know how to do it. If I can live this type of life style, I could easily save more than enough money in the next 30 years to live the exact same type of life style after year 10 even with inflation increasing faster than the government says it is. This would be without putting the money into a savings account or drawing any interest. Once I had saved enough I could start buying houses with cash and renting them out. This would create a decent return on investment if I realized inflation was increasing quickly and I needed to put more money aside.

Every single person can cut like this to some extent and live without luxuries like cell phones, tv, fast food, living in the big city, or having a house that is larger than necessary. If you want all of these things...you will probably need two jobs to save the amount of money you will need.

One important aspect that I included that happens in other cultures but not so much in the U.S. any more is living with family. This allows for sharing of vehicles and splinting mortgage/rent payments. This can help out a lot in saving the money needed to retire.

I'm 44 and have done almost

I'm 44 and have done almost just about everything on your list; started 5 years ago. The only one I haven't done is buy houses to rent (although two nearby had come up for sale and I thought about it but didn't think it was the right time yet). Very nice post.

I know an older gentleman

that is 91 years old. When he first started drawing SS when he was 65 it was enough money for him to live. Through inflation alone it's now almost doesn't cover his grocery. His retirement amount 600 a month. His rent 1100 dollars per month. Social Security is a scam. It sound well and good until they keep stealing from you some more by inflating the currency.

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    Correct me if I'm wrong but

    if I'm not mistaken, SS was revamped, greedily so,buy "them" in the 80"s. It used to be that your benefit was calculated on your top 3 years of earnings, but then, changed to your top 35,or your lifetime earnings. For those who did not have an income in some years, or very little, it decreased their benefit drastically. I may have some of this incorrect, but that is how I remember it.

    Where does he live?

    $1100 rent?! I had houses that expensive, when I had a family. Now, with just two of us, I rent for $600 a month and have plenty room for toys (full basement, one bath, two bedrooms!)! I could live in much less, and likely will after this summer!

    why would anyone rely on SS

    why would anyone rely on SS to begin with?

    If you understand Liberty and the Constitution

    you realize that the government never had the power to force people to pay into a government retirement plan. Sheep that we are, we freely gave the fruits of our labor to the government to invest thinking they would take care of us. The government has no authority to take what we make and save it for us. In life, as a free person, there are no guarantees that we will be happy or successful but there is the guarantee that we can pursue those issues without government interference. If you want everyone to be successful and happy then a Constitutional Republic is not for you. How can people live without SS? The answer is most of them cannot but this an issue they created for themselves by allowing the government to take their money with the promise to take care of them later in life.

    well my parents and I have our plan

    I'm 29, spent some time working as a nurse, got married, had 3 kids and am now in medical school. My wife is a school teacher and we spend about $1,000/month over what she makes. We are borrowing minimal amounts by agreeing to work 5 years in a rural location after school (free tuition) and borrowing ~10K a year from mom/dad interest free (child care is costly when all 3 kids are to young to go to free public school). At the rate we are going my parents will have given me about $90,000 since I graduated high school, mostly to avoid student loans or pay our rent most recently.

    My parents somewhat jokingly said, sure we can give y'all about 10,000 every year but if we need the help later y'all will have to help us out...and with all seriousness my wife & I told them we will. We intend to pay them back every dime and as much more as may be needed to keep them safe, health, and thriving for as long as can be. My parents have put a good bit of their savings into me, I respect that and though they are doing pretty well now, if times turn, I fully intend to completely assume all costs they might incur.

    Garan's picture

    "Retired Protesters for Hire"

    Entertain this idea: the successful middle class with no time for politics, can hire or donate money to retired people to perform politically protests.

    I'll create a topic and see what people have to say.

    (Here it is: Rent-a-Retiree for Political Protest)

    How do you pay for something when you don't have money?

    You are asking these questions from the point of view of an individual, but you could ask the same questions from the point of view of our government.

    To keep the entitlements going, the government needs more than 222 trillion dollars in present value savings. It is impossible to save that much from the taxes coming in. See this:


    The entitlement system WILL collapse. It is just a question of when. Many of my family members are retired and living of social security, disability, and military pension. I understand how dependent they are, but it is a dangerous situation to be in. The government checks will buy less and less over time, and one day the checks may stop coming.

    The politicians have created a royal mess by making promises to buy votes. There is no easy way out of it.

    We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

    -C. S. Lewis

    BMWJIM's picture

    The multi-million dollar answer is!

    FAMILY, if you raised your children with the love of family and helping others. Without the need of any ASSistance.

    I am 53 years old and I do not expect, nor want the government bullshit. I just want them to QUIT STEALING from me. We can start right now! They don't even have to give back what they stole!

    Just leave me alone!


    1976-1982 USMC, Having my hands in the soil keeps me from soiling my hands on useless politicians.

    If I had bought Gold or Silver with my SS donations.

    I suspect it would become clear that the contributors were swindled.

    I had a paper from the SS Administration showing how much they had forced me to pay.

    Free includes debt-free!

    How did people live for 6,000 years without Socialised Security?

    Here's one way....

    Family grows 90% of their food on 1/10th an acre

    Here's another problem....all the 40 something year olds and younger "know" they will never see one penny of it.


    "Take hold of the future or the future will take hold of you." -- Patrick Dixon


    If all the money they took from my paychecks were immediately backed by the nations gold in Fort Knox. If it is still there.... My retirement would be secure.
    The rise in gold prices counteract the deflation of my savings.
    In 1972 gold was 42.22 an ounce.

    I think you vastly underestimate your own abilities.

    Firstly, you vastly overestimate how much SS pays out. If you made 40K a year while working you will get far less than 40K in benefits per year, probably much closer to 15K.

    Secondly, if you have a base of capital to invest, and are living off of the returns then you do not need 1.5 million, but far less. Assuming a fairly normal and safe rate of return of 7% then you'd need a base of only 200K to match SS. Assuming a much more pessimistic, but "entirely" safe rate of 3.5% such as could be found on long dated US treasuries in todays low yield environment would mean you need about 400K. If you had say 500K your extra could be invested to account for inflation. Even in the worst case scenario then you need only about 500K to match you SS payments, not the 1.5M you indicated.

    Now, the question is how much did you pay into SS over the years? Well, you and your employer both pay 6.2% or a total of 12.4% of your income over say 35 years. If you retired making 40K let's assume you averaged a salary of half that or 20K then you would pay in an average of 2200 per year to SS. If you recieved a safe average return of 6.5% while working you'd have saved your 300K.

    In reality if you ever look at you SS statement you'll see a rate of return of less than 2%, which is because SS doesn't even buy something as risky as long dated treasuries but rather Treasury IOU's with an even lower rate of return, and no marketability.

    So, to recap. If you made very little money, and saved what you contribute to SS by law, and get a very safe rate of return you could replace SS with no additional savings. On the other hand, if you handle your own investments, and learn something over 35 years of doing so you will surely return much more than 6.5% both during your working years, and your retirement leading to a much more comfortable retirement without relying on a government crook to cut you a check each month. Then again if you are already 65, and saved nothing but what SS required by law all your life and thus have no savings then well....you are well and truely screwed if the g-man decides to starve you to death.

    Josh Brueggen
    Jack of all Trades
    Precinct Commiteeman Precinct 5 Rock Island Co Illinois

    I never thought...

    I'd see the day where someone would actually advocate for Social Security on this site. This is a new low.

    Ron Paul knows you can't dump

    Ron Paul knows you can't dump it off. People have been forced to pay into it, it's there money to get back. And he only would cut from it if there were cross the board cuts.

    young people want to get out of it and they can't. And from how the system has played us, those that payed into want their return.

    I was robbed, and don't expect to get anything back.

    All I want is to serve justice on the looters and slavers who mistook the American people as their servants.

    There's a reason a pyramid scam is a crime, so that nobody can pretend they're victims or that they're owed money. They partook in a scam and don't deserve a damn thing.

    set up a trust

    it will generally give you 10%-15% return per year after the investment firm fee so a 1 million dollar trust will generate from 100k to 150k per year and make sure you have your property paid off and a good garden, then you will have very little cost per year and good income to put some into gold and silver.also, when buying gold and silver, buy just under the amount that gets reported.

    Average earnings are $43k.

    Average earnings are $43k. SS is approx 12%. $5160 per year.

    Take that $5160 per year for 40 years = $206,400 (0% interest)

    At 2% = $311,674

    At 5% = $623,327

    At 9% = $1,743,473

    And that is only the money the average person pays into SS per year.

    If we take that $5160 and add to it other retirement savings & even just general savings, the amounts can be very significant.

    Something as simple as not spending a lifetime smoking cigarettes can add up to big bucks. Based on NJ prices, 1 pack per day.... take the $2737.5 per year & if avg 9% growth it would be very near $1 million by 40 years.

    Same could be said for many things. Property tax in NJ is very high... move to another area & save a few thousand per year could do the same thing.

    Small amounts added up over a long period of time at interest = a lot of retirement savings.

    Social Security is a false sense of security, causes people to save less because they believe SS will be enough. Then the gov loses it all anyway... might not even be here in another 15-20 years. What then?


    SS Payments are spent by congress

    Great argument for converting FICA payments into a savings plan. Unfortunately, $5160 for 40 years = $0 because the Congress spent all the contributions.

    And we know, Capital comes from savings. Without Savings, there is no capital for investing. Keep up the great work Congress and the FED.

    I'm aware that the gov spends

    I'm aware that the gov spends SS contributions. My post was not in support of SS but in response to the thread title question of "how does one live without SS."

    I was showing what people could be doing with that money if we did not have the SS system and did not have the gov forcefully taking that money from our paychecks.


    Ask Edward Mandell House

    “[Very] soon, every American will be required to register their biological property in a National system designed to keep track of the people and that will operate under the ancient system of pledging. By such methodology, we can compel people to submit to our agenda, which will affect our security as a chargeback for our fiat paper currency. Every American will be forced to register or suffer not being able to work and earn a living. They will be our chattel, and we will hold the security interest over them forever, by operation of the law merchant under the scheme of secured transactions. Americans, by unknowingly or unwittingly delivering the bills of lading to us will be rendered bankrupt and insolvent, forever to remain economic slaves through taxation, secured by their pledges. They will be stripped of their rights and given a commercial value designed to make us a profit and they will be non the wiser, for not one man in a million could ever figure our plans and, if by accident one or two would figure it out, we have in our arsenal plausible deniability. After all, this is the only logical way to fund government, by floating liens and debt to the registrants in the form of benefits and privileges. This will inevitably reap to us huge profits beyond our wildest expectations and leave every American a contributor or to this fraud which we will call “Social Insurance.” Without realizing it, every American will insure us for any loss we may incur and in this manner; every American will unknowingly be our servant, however begrudgingly. The people will become helpless and without any hope for their redemption and, we will employ the high office of the President of our dummy corporation to foment this plot against America.”

    This is a great discussion I wish it got moved to FrontPage

    despite the down votes.

    The other option in response to the original post is to *GASP* move outside the US.

    sorry. I just noticed that it was an old post. BUT A GOODIE none the less.

    Gold/Silver has been appreciating faster than paper dollars,,

    Have been depreciating for the last 12 years.

    Over 600% appreciation in U.S. Dollars,since 2001.Another fact never talked about now-a-days, is; From 1792 to 1933 there was "NO" inflation,{on the Gold/Silver standard} therefore if a prudent saver could save a small amount of Silver/Gold during their working years, it was/is possible to tap into precious metals savings for necessities long after a persons physical abilities became limited.


    The Garden is long gone. You'll need family and charity.

    The question is, how can ANYBODY survive when they produce nothing of value? Your stomach writes laws too, and you can't eat wishes or tears so you'll either need to live off somebody elses productive labor or steal the value derived from it.

    JFK: "For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies on covet means to further its sphere of influence"

    The only answer that doesn't include taking somebodies liberty (taking what you covet by force) is charity, voluntary association, and the people most willing to help you will be your family.

    Charity has become a bad word in today's world, something that losers ask for, but without charity the only answer is a gun and a world filled with looters who hate each other and use collective force to steal from their neighbors. Without charity you get a world filled with injustice which is ultimately the conspiracy JFK was talking about, creating a world filled with injustice by selectively answering peoples unjust desires.

    Most everyone does or can add labor to the pot.

    They can reap the benefits from that labor and apply it to other products in such ways as to reduce their own economic footprint.

    Patriot Cell #345,168
    I don't respond to emails or pm's.
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

    WOW Freedom that was a great post!


    I thought of a better plan

    Pay your bills and establish good credit, when you reach 65 take out an enormous loan and defer the payments until you're dead, and just let your heirs deal with it.
    It's exactly like social security without all the mailbox checking.