On 20Twenty, we look forward to addressing your questions each week on Christians and money with Alex Cook, founder of Wealth With Purpose. In this recent discussion, Alex is sharing his insights on having a Christian response to money issues and focusing on questions about retirement.
Alex says that talking to Christians about retirement is a big part of the teaching of his ministry. “The question I get asked most often is, will I have enough for retirement? It’s difficult to answer, and not really an issue that the Bible talks much about.”
Alex believes that as Christians we are born with a purpose and are given different giftings, and we are called to use these until the day we leave the planet. “Christians never really retire. What we should be asking is how do we have a purposeful retirement. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we stay in paid employment, so we have to be preparing financially.”
Alex also points out that as we age, health issues and a lack of money can make our golden years harder than society paints them to be. As believers we should get rid of the world’s view and make the most of any time we have here on earth.
“Possibly the most important question is how much we will need in retirement. We don’t know how much we will spend and we often don’t know how much it costs us to live now. Most people by the time they retire will have their house paid off, and their kids will have grown up and left home. Expenses have declined. You have to work out how much capital to set aside to get the income stream that you want in retirement.”
Alex continues that the biggest challenge is finding a balance between minimising volatility and getting the income you need from your investments. “Your wealth needs to keep up with inflation.”
Alex says it’s also very common for couples to want a ‘tree change’ or a ‘sea change’. “Many people want to downsize to unlock some money and move to a cheaper area. But it’s not long before they realise that they’ve left their church, their friends, and their kids behind. It can be very isolating, and loneliness can set in, particularly if one of you passes away. You have to weigh the impact as you age of needing extra care, help and support, and being near family.”
No matter what age you are, Alex recommends taking practical steps to prepare for retirement. “The first thing to work out is how much income you will need. Then work backwards, and there are plenty of calculators online that will help you do that. Start thinking about what retirement will look like in general, whether you will do paid work or volunteer work and how you are going to use your time effectively for God’s kingdom in the later years.”
Retirement is a milestone on the journey, not the end point.
Alex believes in having a Kingdom mindset. If you have more than you need, break the fear of giving it away and trust in God’s character and provision. “It’s our responsibility to be giving during our lifetime, and giving later. We need to be good stewards of what God has given us.”
“Most people have a natural inclination to leave everything to their kids. But if all our money is God’s, then the question becomes who are you leaving God’s money to?”
Alex says we should be thinking about other organisations that we can leave money to, and not just our kids. “It’s a critical question. Are we funding God’s eternal Kingdom in our final act of stewardship?”
For more information and access to free resources, visit www.wealthwithpurpose.com or listen below to hear the rest of Alex’s chat with Neil…
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