Will Social Security Really Run Out of Money?

Is a looming financial crisis for Social Security myth or reality? The answer might surprise you.

Feb 23, 2014 at 8:40AM

With millions of Americans counting on Social Security to be there when they retire, news that the program could run out of money is scary. But many question whether a looming Social Security funding shortfall is really something to worry about.

In the following segment from their video guide to investment planning, Motley Fool director of investment planning Dan Caplinger talks with Fool markets/IP bureau chief Mike Klesta about Social Security's coming funding challenges. Dan notes that one reason why so many people take their Social Security benefits early is that they think that the program might not be able to pay them later in life. But he thinks that's a mistake, because worst-case scenarios still have Social Security having enough money to pay full benefits for decades to come even without any changes to the program. Moreover, even under current law, retirees would still get about 75% of their benefits even after the Social Security Trust Fund is depleted. Dan concludes that with the likelihood of at least some action from lawmakers before automatic benefit reductions would take place, there's little reason to worry that Social Security won't be there when you need it.

Your real worry about your Social Security
What's much smarter than worrying needlessly is for you to take the time and make sure that Social Security gives you all the benefits that you're entitled to receive. We want to help. In our brand-new free report, "Make Social Security Work Harder for You," our retirement experts give their insight on making the key decisions that will help ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.

Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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