1 vote

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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"Actual value" means what it would cost to rebuild

the house, in it's current form, plus the price of the land it sits on. So, yes, the actual value of my house is a couple of hundred thousand LESS that current "fair market value". The neighborhood has changed and the housing market is in the tank, making fair market vaule substantially less than actual value.

Unfortunately, current personal circumstances do not allow us to sell and move on right now. Tried to sell before my husband got sick but, could not. Hopefully, as soon as conditions change, I can sell and get close to fair market value. Not much of a mortgage lien at all, so that's not an issue, thankfully.

Thanks for the advice about going off the grid with a remote piece of property, rp4pres. Any suggestions? I don't have a clue how to go about getting off the grid.

I suppose if you have the money to

get and install solar panels and all of the needed pieces to that puzzle, you could do off-grid where you are.

I'd look through my house too and get rid of the large energy users, like a "modern" fridge/freezer setup.. You can actually get two used deep freezers.. use one for a freezer and the other can be easily modified to be the most efficient refrigerator, you've ever seen by far. I think the report I read was about 200watts consumed in a 24 hour day.

Maybe check into steam engines and grid tie-ins too. You can actually take a very easy steam engine converted from an IC engine and charge a battery pack as a backup for your solar.

The thing is, I could give you a hundred ideas, but would you actually make the changes and do the work needed to learn.

Also, the remote land was an alternative to your present situation. Having land like that if you have no reason to leave where you are is more or less just a vacation spot and more bills.. unless you use it as a backup bug out spot.

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

I agree with Nonna




Maybe if dividends didn't get taxed so highly people could retire and live off them. And no, you can't stick your money into one investment and expect it to give you returns year after year. You have to keep doing homework (it's your retirement, after all) and keep picking good stocks.

So if there's not one investment that you can just leave alone for 40 years while you sit around and collect dividends, then how would a government program like SS possibly be better? You think the government will be able to post a profit? That's idiotic. THERE IS NO MONEY LEFT IN SOCIAL SECURITY. So stop acting like the government can do a better job of taking care of people than individuals can on their own.

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.


Do what old folks used to do

Move in the with the kids.

Author of Shades of Thomas Paine, a common sense blog with a Libertarian slant.


Also author of Stick it to the Man!


there are people 'in between'--

the welfare recipient/impoverished and those who have been successful enough to 'retire' without SS at a decent age.

Some of *us* were stupid enough to:

--do work that wasn't tied to the military industrial complex and didn't pay very well, in spite of college degrees and excellent skills/working habits

--pay into SS

--get ourselves downsized

We worked our fingers to the bone, quite literally (both of us are underweight now in our 60s)--

and at one point our hours were cut so deeply that the employer said, "why don't you just 'retire' and collect SS?"--

It was our only option. There were no other jobs in the area or in our area(s) of expertise--

We will have to work 'forever'--

part-time or as long as the work lasts.

Even for those of *us* who have fed ourselves (gardening, cooking from scratch, gleaning, foraging, preserving, buying in bulk and locally)--

and put by for a 'rainy day'--

get old.

We refuse to use government health care programs; we are not enrolled in any of them, but we can't afford insurance.

We live day to day and watch those who invested in the military or medical industrial complex take cruises--

but we feel good about how we lived and what we did with our time, our health, our strength and our lives--

but the fact is that you can get to where you wear out. Some people wear out in their 50s (thank heavens we didn't), some in their 60s, some not until their 70s.

The truth is that genetics plays a big role and a person's childhood plays a large role, dietary practices do matter, though we've always eaten MUCH better than the standard American diet.

There are people still working in their 80s, and there are people who are worn out in their 50s.

Sometimes hard work CAN wear a person out--

we've both worked since we were very young; we both had to; one of us had an impoverished family and had to put food on the table, the other of us had no family and had to work, because at 18 there would be no more foster home--

We watched our friends have more 'carefree' childhoods. Most of our friends and peers didn't have to work as hard to get through college--

but we didn't break down 'til our 60s--

and we're still working. There are days when we wonder how much longer we can keep going, but there really isn't an option. Until God decides it's your time to go, you have to keep moving. (*partly tongue in cheek, but lots of truth there*)--

the idea of 'golden' years is a big laugh--

but then we had special needs kids (some of them)--

and our children who aren't special needs have also struggled financially--

we had no parents to help us or be grandparents for our children. There was so safety net for us, and our children will not take care of us--

We count on God to do that, after we've put in a hard day's work.

But at hard day's work in the 60s can't be as much as a hard day's work in the 30s--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Can you save $4,000 per year

Can you save $4,000 per year during your working life?
That should be reasonable. Just live within your means.
If you invest $40,000 per year for your working life of 40 years at 6% (easily doable),you will end up with $656,000. Perhaps not the $1.5 million you desire, but sufficient.
Now, if you continue earning 6% interest on that $656,000 then you will be able to take out $45,000 for 30 years.
Please do some learning about compound interest.

Is it perfectly safe? No. Nothing is perfectly safe. If you want to be safe, then suffer living on $21,800 per year instead of $45,000.

And if you are too stupid to plan for your own future, then plan on working until you die. Or, have your kids take care of you. They do owe it to you anyway as you took care of them.

Grow up, and accept responsibility for yourself.

“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

I just retired

I start collecting SS next month. I also have some savings, but not enough to live on forever. I'm married and still healthy enough to work, so I plan to start working part time maybe later this year or next year, but I could not do this without SS.

On a side note, I'm sitting here reading the comics, and the Doonesbury comic strip points out that cutting SS by 10% will save $60 billion by 2040, but cutting out the war in Afghanistan will save $150 billion in two years.

Don't look at the problem as

Don't look at the problem as "if I didn't have Social Security, then I wouldn't survive". Well the government created that dependency when they decided to start taxing income and making you poorer. If you started your working career with no income tax, no payroll tax, no any kind of with holdings of your paycheck. And you were given free reign of 100% of your income the rest of your life, you would have every opportunity to succeed.

If the government didn't take about 25% of income your whole life, and you could then save/invest that money yourself, you would more than likely have more of a budget than you do on Social Security.

Nowadays, just simple yearly savings can still net you a budget double or triple that of a SS check.

jrd3820's picture

Depends on how old you are

I am relatively young still so I am not worried about having to live without social security. It's math. Math is a universal constant.

Live within your means and start saving now. Forget about SS, pretend it's not even there (because... well... it's not). I understand if you have been counting on SS your whole life, it is not as easy as pretending it's not there, but there are still tons of ways to live cheap.

First, tell your doctor to eff off. You do not need half of the crap he/she tells you that you need anyways. That should save you some $.

Then remind your children (if you have them, I do not plan on it so this all on me) that you brought them into this world. That is all you have to say, that should save you some money also.

Garden garden garden garden garden. I am not even necessarily talking about a huge sprawling garden (although that would be preferable), you can do a lot of gardening inside even in smaller living spaces. Seriously, this can save you tons of money. Also, eating healthier will save you money on medical problems that will go away.

Cut your cable and internet. I would go as far as to say cut your cell phone, but most people I know say I am a bit extreme when it comes to what I will and won't pay for.

You do not need new clothes or shoes. Clothes are clothes, shoes are shoes. They are irrelevant. This might sound petty, but really you can save a lot thinking like this.

If you must have an additional income there are tons of ways to make extra money. I teach a SAT prep class 2 nights a week at the library. I started out volunteering, but it eventually grew into a paying gig. It does not pay much, but I do not need much because of how I live. Make something and sell it online. Do some freelance writing or something. I think someone below mentioned something about rental properties. My parents have decent success with this. Personally, I think it would muddy my finances with things like loans and dependency on renters, but it is not the worst idea either.

Forget the word need. There is little you need in this world, and money is not one of the things you need.

Good luck.

Great reply. Might I add, To

Great reply. Might I add, To live simply - Simply live. My Grandmother would always say that. I never understood what she meant as a kid, but I get it now.

jrd3820's picture

I like that

There is a difference between "need" and "want." Needs are basic, and there are few. Shelter, Nutrition, water. After that if you want something bigger or better work your ass off for it and make it work, but you can do it without credit or government loans.

My other answer

would be to stop creating so much inflation that the cost of living continues to balloon at such a preposterous pace. If someone could still live for a couple of bucks a year, you wouldn't need any income or investments.

Also we should stop pretending that everyone is going to live to be 100. When there are perfectly healthy individuals that mysteriously and suddenly die in their 50's, they aren't too much better off having made all those Social Security payments, are they?

Keep you SS and your government I will take care of myself

until i cant then thats it. Keep you dictatorship keep your extorted theft called tax keep your proclaimations. And Ill keep my FREEDOM.


My plan: Have children and raise them as humans

Hope they take care of you.
Plan B: Work at ACE hardware

My thinking

is that this is a bit of a trick question. The burden of proof for any intervention should lie on its supporters to show that the program is indefinitely sustainable.

My understanding is that Social Security is flawed by design and that the "trust fund" is a charade, so it inevitably will go bankrupt and the government will be unable to make good on its promises. If that is true, then it doesn't really matter whether ideologically you think that its a good idea or not.

The same way...

we live without socialism!
Independent means not depending on anyone!!!
Socialism means depending on someone...

When Fascism goes to sleep, it checks under the bed for Ron Paul!

You restore the family farm.

Old people on farms seem to stay healthy until the end. When one earns their daily bread, embraces their place in the circle of life, the idea of "retirement" becomes silly. If they kick us off the land, everyone is screwed.

This is the article that got my posting privileges revoked:

I agree . . .

one set of grandparents lost the farm; the other set sold the farm--


wanted land; couldn't get it.

Use every square foot of our backyard, though--


it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

True Fishy...

and the children continued to run the family farm and took care of the elderly when they were too old to work anymore...
Remember the Waltons? -it included fiction drama but still based on old life styles.

what Fishy said. Buying and

what Fishy said. Buying and renting real estate, and operating your own business are pretty much the only other answers.

The days of sticking principle in the bank and living off interest have come and gone. Even the stock market is a suckers bet. It's been artificially held up by the FED the last 4 years. In REAL terms though, it's not even keeping pace with inflation.

“Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it’s realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy.”
― Ron Paul

I see many comments about "lessons from the Depression"

There's only one lesson to be re-learned from the depression.

Central Banks in credit systems are genocidal tools which will invariably be used to confiscate and destroy wealth. Without sound money, instability, catastrophe and genocidal depressions are guaranteed.

"Central Banks are more dangerous than standing armies for through inflation, then deflation they will buy out all of the land our fathers conquered." (or close, I know the essence is right.)

SS is another story. It should be private and voluntary to participate. If you're not comfortable saving for your own retirement, use it. If you're prudent or have a better idea then good for you. Of course transitioning from now to something like this will take time or there'll be mass genocide. (Of course that's assuming the dollar doesn't rocket to zero before that transition can be made. If it does, SS won't matter.)

TJ, one of my favorite

TJ, one of my favorite historical figures. The quote attributted to TJ you mentioned above is one of my favorites that I can recite by memory - you did get the essence of it.

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
Thomas Jefferson

One thing you don't do:

Is put your life savings in a govt. sponsered IRA. Only to have it in the stock market and lose it all with the push of an electronic button. What about farmland, wellwater, growing food? UNAgenda 21 herds everyone into cities. So much easier to control the masses. Protect Property Rights! Ron Paul!

What do you do WITH social

What do you do WITH social security? Someone making $30,000 a year living in New York City then getting to retirement age- social security payments are not enough to make rent. Pretty useless.

Everyone wondering how the elderly will manage their lives should start asking why they aren't taking care of their own elders themselves? We have a certain culture where everyone is in a rush to move out of their parents home and then leave them be like they don't exist. Why not have them live with you? Support them during their old age if you care.

If you're concerned about old people with no families, go and find them yourself- give them a room, give them food. Be a real man who takes actions on his principles. You can't house everyone, but if you're not even going to house ONE person you have no moral ground to argue for taking people's money from social security to give it to someone else.

Well said...

Well said but you are counting on humans to be compassionate and sharing,You are asking that folks take on a little inconvenience of lifestyle.If we are counting on this to happen even if society dictates it as responsibly actions towards the future it will not happen.Not enough to help the inevitable result.It is truly a good thought though,unfortunately reality will prevail in the end.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

Doesn't always work

You know,

Sometimes people try, and it just doesn't work. My husband and I took my mother in for 3 months. My father had gone into a veteran's nursing home a few months before, and my mom finally agreed to come and stay with us. We also had four children with one on the way (9 yrs. and under). My mother has Parkinson's as well as a bad knee cap (injured after her knee replacement, and they can't really do anything for it) that seriously impairs her mobility.

I ended up not giving her enough attention, and she didn't like being around my sometimes bickering kids, and she ended up calling the police on my husband a couple of times because he was 'intimidating.' This same husband built solid wooden ramps in our house in case she might some day come and live with us - so just on a maybe, he did that. He helped adapt the bathroom and shower for her. He, along with my brother helped move her furniture in, along with setting up a couple of different beds for her because she had a bad back. He pushed her wheelchair sometimes, and even got down on the ground to help her move her foot if it got stuck.

On Christmas Eve, he was wrapping presents in the room next to hers, and had to walk the hallway to transport presents or wrapping materials to and from the tree. She called the police on him for walking in his own hallway. We think she was having a bit of paranoia issues because of medication, and she was also having hallucinations of mice in her room. She decided to move out - we did not put her out. I was hopeful until the end that maybe we could work it out, but she was miserable in our house. She lived in MA, and we moved up to NH to find a big enough place to try to take my parents in (we moved before my father went into a nursing home, but though the place was bigger it was also a big fixer-upper, so we weren't ready to take anyone in when he gave into dementia). So the change to NH was too much for her to take. We have neighbors, but it's kind of wooded around the house, so it's a bit hard to see their houses. I mean, we only live about 8 minutes away from the center of town and shopping, etc., but right around the house it just seemed too isolated for her. Every time we went out driving, especially at night, she always- always without fail- said something derogatory about the area we lived (usually that there weren't enough street lights, and the hills were too scary). She's used to seeing her neighbors' houses.

It didn't work. I'm still trying to help her, but I can see why some people just can't take someone in. It isn't always so cut and dry.

Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Mary, Our Mother, protect us under your mantle.

i'd say

it's an engineered shift.
just like a career is seen as more important than being a parent.

"The two weakest arguments for any issue on the House floor are moral and constitutional"
Ron Paul

The reality as it is now is

The reality as it is now is that like I said- social security doesn't even do anything to help pay rent- at the cost of taking money away from people's paychecks when they could've used it for something they need.

You're also counting on humans to be compassionate if you think that humans in the government will live up to their promises. If people aren't charitable enough to help others- then what makes you believe that the bureaucrats in charge of social security money are? The true reality of social security promises not being met will certainly prevail in the end.

You don't have to "count" on people helping their elders, JUST DO IT YOURSELF even if you're the only one on earth doing it. You are hurting people by taking their money through social security and pretending that you're not.

Don't count on anyone to do anything right- just do whats right on your own thats enough. If you don't want to, then that just means you're arguing for the sake of arguing and don't care about anyone really. I'm speaking to you directly by the way.

Of course not everyone is compassionate- but why support immoral practices because of it? That doesn't make any sense.

Can you imagine how bad the

Can you imagine how bad the crash would have been in 2008 if the bankers had had our social security money to play with? Disaster!

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a