Written by Keith Kreb, Sr. Private Wealth Advisor in Ronald Blue Trust’s Chicago, Illinois office
You may be surprised to learn that many retirees don’t enjoy retirement. They discover this new time in their life isn’t made up of the happy “golden years” that they anticipated. Retirement usually means a shift from adding to investments to living from investments, adjusting to spending time in different places with different people, and sometimes includes a sense of lost identity. Any of these three can be challenging and the combination is what can make retirement one of life’s more difficult transitions.
Why is retirement such a challenging life transition and why does it often fall short of expectations? While retiring early with a long life expectancy is a relatively new phenomenon/aspiration, finding fulfillment in life is not a new challenge. King Solomon, argued by many to be the wisest and richest human in history, didn’t find lasting enjoyment in riches, power, achievement, wisdom, wives, concubines, or anything else his wealth could buy.
For me, witnessing the retirement of family, friends, and clients has provided a lot of insight into how one can live a fulfilling retirement. There are three significant factors I see as critical to finding fulfillment in retirement:
- Peace about finances
- A sense of purpose
Peace about finances means having enough and living out principles of wise stewardship. A person always faced with worry about running out of money will have too much anxiety in their life to find fulfillment in retirement. Additionally, a person who isn’t wisely stewarding what God has entrusted to them will often worry they’re not making good decisions or falling short of what’s expected of them. Financial peace can be achieved through confidence in having enough and clarity in living principles of wise stewardship.
Confidence, clarity, and peace can come from a retirement plan based on biblical principles. This comprehensive plan includes every aspect of a person’s financial life and helps foster peace of mind that God has provided enough for a reasonable lifestyle in retirement (see Luke 14:28 and Proverbs 21:5). Living principles of wise stewardship, providing for yourself and your family, and being generous to God and others cultivates a contrite and content heart. I have found that clarity, confidence, and peace of mind about a plan for retirement and a contrite and content heart can provide true inner peace.
Purpose is about investing in the lives of others. We can probably agree that everyone needs life-giving passions, hobbies, or activities, but a fruitful sense of purpose comes from finding the balance between enjoying life and serving others. 1 Peter 4:10 indicates God has given each one of us gifts and abilities for the purpose of serving others. Identifying spiritual gifts and natural abilities and seeking purpose in using them to love and serve our neighbors, satisfies us by fulfilling the purpose that God has given us. How much service is enough? That’s between each person and God. Start slow and intentionally in order to discover what is right for you.
People means building meaningful relationships with family and friends. Jesus emphasizes that God’s most important commands are loving God and loving others (who God created in his image). Every person desires to feel seen, heard, and loved unconditionally for who they are, and the Bible teaches that eternal fulfillment is only found in a personal relationship with God and meaningful relationships with others.
We teach that finding fulfillment in retirement is a function of intentionally cultivating peace about finances, sense of purpose, and meaningful relationships with people and is grounded in God-honoring financial planning and wise life counsel.
At Ronald Blue Trust, we guide and assist clients in creating a retirement plan that is designed to set you on a path toward sound financial decisions and wise stewardship and provide a road map to your desired destination. If you would like to talk to a Ronald Blue Trust advisor about your path to a richly fulfilling retirement, please contact us at 800.987.2987 or email [email protected].