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Looking ahead

by Norma Jackson Goldman

I wasn’t ready to think about retirement. After all, it was still several years away, or so I thought. But suddenly, I found myself among the ranks of the retired! It’s not that I hadn’t made any plans at all—I had. Saving had been part of my life for many years, so IRA funds from one period of employment and a 401K from another were in place. I had developed a healthy attitude toward debt, so there wasn’t any, except a small balance on my home.

Although in excellent health all my life, I had insurance coverage for both catastrophic illness and long-term care. In preparation for extensive travel I had already created a will. Preparing that will prompted serious thoughts about the legacy I would leave to the people and institutions I care so deeply about. All these decisions and actions occurred over a considerable period of time.

Without giving it a lot of conscious thought, I had addressed some of the most important retirement questions: How much money will I need? How long will I live? Will the money last as long as I live? Are my affairs in good legal order? Will the plans I’ve developed honor God, and extend my testimony beyond this life?

In the past, it was not uncommon to work for one company throughout an entire career, living in the same general area for a lifetime. I’ve lived and worked in five states, which is fairly typical today. This adds another dimension to the retirement equation. Where will I live in retirement? Does God want to use me in a specific ministry? Is it most important to be close to family, to health care, or in a particular climate or recreational region? What will be the cost of relocation?

The most important part of the formula to answer these questions is time. It takes time to save for retirement, and it is never too late, nor too early to start! More important than the amount saved monthly is the lengthof time a person saves. Savings grow as a person develops a healthy, mature attitude toward money. The Bible is rich in wisdom regarding spending, saving, giving, and planning for the future.

It takes time to think through the decisions required to make a will. Every Christian needs to give this matter priority, especially when children are involved. More than 50% of Americans die without a proper will. As a result, the state makes critical decisions that rightfully belong to the individual.

It takes time to thoughtfully consider plans for life “after work.” Will I want to work beyond retirement? If so, doing what? Will my financial condition require me to work? Some people find the idea of retirement itself oddly discomforting. Much of our identity revolves around what we do; our work almost defines us. Without preparation, the idea of “life without work” may cause anxiety, feelings of uselessness, and a sense of diminished value. As with the other elements of a retirement plan, careful and thoughtful planning, over time, can help a person resolve conflicts about what he or she will do during retirement.

Start planning now. Ask God for specific help and guidance. Seek to honor Him in every element of your retirement planning.

For more infomation about retirement planning, contact the Free Will Baptist Board of Retirement and Insurance at (877) 767-7738 or email





©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists