Millions of Americans rely on Social Security for a substantial portion of their retirement plans. Unfortunately, the program's finances are under long-term pressure. Indeed, the Trust Funds that support Social Security's ability to pay benefits are projected to run out of cash in the next couple of decades.

In the slideshow below, you'll see how letting Social Security invest as if it were a well-managed traditional pension plan could substantially extend the life of its Trust Funds. Of course, you'll also read why that's far more easily said than done.

Motley Fool contributor Chuck Saletta isn't eligible to collect Social Security until after the currently expected date when Trust Funds are anticipated to be emptied. Chuck has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.