Don't Rely on Social Security to Fund Your Retirement | Smart Change: Personal Finance

August 1, 2021

Tax-optimizing your investments is one of the most impactful ways you can get the most out of your retirement money, so be wary of taxes early and often -- the sooner you have your tax house in order, the bigger the benefit you'll ultimately receive when it comes time to use the money in your later years.

Reconsider your location

Moving to another state in retirement might seem like a nonstarter to many, but it can drastically reduce your expenses in a way that many other actions can't. Living in a low-tax state is not only administratively easy, but you'll also face less of a tax burden on both your active income and your investment income. In some states, the lack of a state tax can make an enormous financial difference when applied over many years.

The world is obviously a very different place than it was 30 to 40 years ago; moving to other states doesn't have the same impact on your relationships as it once did. Inertia tends to keep people in the same house, the same town, and so on, but digital transformation has made longer-distance moves increasingly appealing to the adventurous. If you have the appetite, moving south or west for a significantly lower cost of living can make a lot of financial sense.

The writing is on the wall

Social Security will be around for years to come, so there is no reason to think you'll receive nothing from the government in retirement. But there is a good chance that reduced benefits -- in combination with rising inflation and taxes -- will make it more difficult to sustain a lifestyle you're happy with.