‘Mind the gap’ for retirement – The Pathway

By Rodney Harrison

If you’ve ever been in the United Kingdom, you are likely familiar with the phrase “Mind the Gap.” For those who have not heard this warning in person, as a precautionary measure for subway travelers, a female voice alerts passengers to be alert when they cross the threshold or gap between train and platform. Wouldn’t it be great if a voice would say, “Mind the Gap” when it comes to preparing the final season of our earthly life?

According to Forbes, 55% of Americans are or will struggle with retirement finances. This number is up 5% since the beginning of the pandemic. This shortfall is truly another national pandemic as 10,000 people each day in the United State turn 65. According to the Federal Reserve, half of American households do not have any type of retirement account. Many are unaware that social security is not designed to replace retirement planning. Adding to the problem is that many companies do not offer retirement plans via a pension, 401(b) or 403(b) account.

Consider this article the equivalent of a voice calling out “Mind the Gap.” Retirement planning that honors God will involve personal sacrifice, a charitable heart, and more than a smidgen of intentionality.

• Personal Sacrifice: Setting aside 10% of your income for retirement takes intentionality. Talk to your employer, the Missouri Baptist Foundation or a tax advisor for ideas on beginning this process.

• How to cut expenses. I’d be happy to share 10 ideas plus 1 that will help you reduce your spending without changing your standard of living. You can request a copy by emailing president@thebaptisthome.org. Put these savings into retirement planning.

• It is never to soon nor too late to begin retirement planning. Our advancement team will be happy to help you get started. 

• Consider your insurance needs in retirement. Long term care insurance may be something you should consider.

• A Charitable Heart: Retirement planning will provide for you during the later years of life and can provide for your family, church and Christian ministries long after you are home with the Lord. I continue to be heartbroken when think of how few Christians include their church when conducting retirement planning.

Here are three indicators that you are prepared for retirement.

1. Your debts are paid off. You have no loans, credit lines or large credit card balances.

2. You have ample savings. The “25 rule” states you have 25 times your annual cost it takes to live. If it costs $35,000 each year to live, you should have $875,000 in retirement savings.

3. You have a plan for the stewardship of your time. Retirement is a wonderful time to engage in meaningful ministry opportunities.

As Christians, we never retire from service to God, but we do retire from our careers. That is why it is important to “mind the gap” and review your retirement readiness.