Retirement planning is a much-discussed subject in our time. Without a doubt, planning for retirement is important but even more important for Christians is achieving or receiving “God’s Best” in their life.
The Scriptures tell us that “man does the planning and God guides the steps.” Part of the planning process must include planning to “conform us to his righteousness.” Attention to our spending habits, giving habits and lifestyle must precede and ultimately influence our planning for retirement. We have a responsibility to increase our assets so we can give more of ourselves and our resources to furthering the Kingdom of God. Rather than designating the planning process as “retirement planning” it would be more appropriate to label the process “life planning”.
Life planning should not be seen as a static process where goals are set, projections are made, and financial strategies are put in place to achieve a goal. This type of planning envisions the process to be linear in nature, like getting from one point to another. A more appropriate way to approach the planning process is to see it as a “space shot or a God shot” where our lives have a certain velocity and direction which gives it a pre-established vital trajectory but the ultimate outcome is dependent upon our sensitivity to God’s Spirit. Thus, planning requires constant course corrections to be made prompted by sensitivity to God’s Spirit and changes in tax laws, inflation rates and investment returns.
Additionally, most planning assumes people will go through three distinct stages, accumulation, conservation, and distribution. Although these activities properly identify externally the progress of most people’s affairs, good planning does not artificially segment these stages. Good stewardship dictates that consideration should be given to efficient distribution strategies early in the planning process and should not wait until a person reaches an advanced age. Giving goals set early in life with God’s help can become a reality. Conservation strategies should be incorporated into the accumulation years.
God has a plan for each of our lives. Diligent seeking, planning, and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit can lead and guide us to the retirement God has planned for us.
“Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.”