Social Security has little more than two decades left of being fully funded. That’s what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a press conference earlier this week.

Geithner’s report projects that the Social Security Trust Fund will start to run out of money in 2033, three years earlier than previous projections. Geithner said that people are living longer and the number of retirees is growing, which is putting increased pressure on Social Security funding. Cost of living is also on the rise.

As of now, only 75% of scheduled Social Security benefits would be covered starting in 2033. Improving that outlook would require a substantial tax hike.

According to a National Public Radio report, payroll taxes would have to be raised from 12.4% to 16.7% to ensure that Social Security is fully funded in 2033. But the problems run much deeper than that, and will likely require a significant overhaul of the Social Security program.

With no guarantees, income investing just became a lot more important. People hoping to retire by 2033 and beyond can no longer rely on receiving their full Social Security checks. And as yesterday’s FOMC minutes revealed, interest rates are going to remain near zero for at least another two and a half years. That means typical income investing avenues like CDs and money-market accounts aren’t much help for soon-to-be retirees either.

So, at least for now, dividend stocks and safe-haven commodities such as gold are more profitable places for income investors to turn. Gold prices have risen every year for the last decade. Dividend stocks, meanwhile, were the best-performing stocks on the market last year. And with blue-chip companies such as Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Exxon (NYSE: XOM) recently instituting or dramatically increasing their dividends, it’s clear that even the biggest stocks in the world are cluing in to investor demand for dividends.

There are opportunities to make some steady income out there. Better do it now before Social Security runs out.

Published by Wyatt Investment Research at