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There are many different ways to save for those later days, and one great way is through an employer sponsored retirement plan, often known as a 401k or 403b retirement savings plan.  

So, what is one to do if your employer has no retirement benefits?  Some may think that all is lost, that your retirement plans are on hold or derailed because of this.

We, on the other hand, want to let you know, if your employer is not affording you this benefit, there is still hope!  With some planning on your part, and intentionally saving regularly, your retirement/redeployment days could be the reality that you are hoping for! 


Where in the Bible does it speak about saving for retirement?

What a great question this is!  Actually, there is no place in the Bible that speaks specifically about “retirement savings”, 401(k)’s, 403(b)’s, or even IRA’s.  But there are some very good transferable principles that are laid out in the Word of God that speak to our need to save for future days.  Let’s look at two such passages:

  • “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” (Proverbs 21:20, NIV84)  
    • Here in this verse we are not seeing retirement per se, but we are seeing that there is a transferable principle that connects to one’s retirement/redeployment savings. The one that “devours all he has” will never be able to “not work”.  They will, even into their later sunset years, need to continue some form of employment to gain an income to pay their bills and eat. Yet, as the proverb states, the opposite of the foolish is the wise person.  This person makes a conscious choice to “store” what is needed for future days.  It is interesting here that this person is not known in the proverb as a rich person!  What they are known for is their WISDOM!  Clearly they are choosing to live on less, and to store up some “savings’ for his future days.
  • “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6–8, NIV84)
    • Here in this proverb we see twice that the ant “stores its provisions in the summer” and “gathers its food at harvest.” Why would the ant tuck/store/gather?  Because it will need it on a future day.  Not every day is “harvest and eat”.  Harvests only happen once or twice a year, so what is harvested needs to provide for the ant for many months into the future. It is the same for us, plus some!  We, most likely, will not be able to work in the same way in our later years as we once did.  At the best, we will have to slow down.  If this is the case it very well could impact the current needed income.  At worst, we will not be able to work at all!  If this is the case, how will you pay your bills and afford your food to eat? This is where this proverb speaks loud and clear.  When the harvest is full, and there are provisions in the summer, TUCK SOME AWAY for the future years when you will need it the most!


Why Are Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans So Important?

There are different kinds of employer-sponsored retirement plans…here are the most popular ones out there…

  • 401(k) explanation – A 401(k) plan gives employees a tax break on money they contribute to a retirement investment account. 
  • 403(b) explanation – A retirement account designed for certain employees of public schools and other tax-exempt organizations (Investopedia).

It affords you the opportunity to do automatic payroll deducted contributions (Pre-tax, Consistent) It also could give you the opportunity to have your retirement contributions matched, up to a certain dollar amount or percentage of your contribution from the employer. This, in essence, is FREE money for you!  


My Employer Has No Retirement Plan. What should I do?

Because your employer does not offer a retirement plan, it does not mean that you should just ignore this. Don’t bury your head in the sand. YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING.

  • Talk to your employer about starting a plan… perhaps your employer will listen to the requests of their employees. It’s really not that expensive to start a retirement plan. Employers, you have a moral obligation to help your team members plan for life after they are done working for you. 
  • Get to know the different types of retirement plans that are available to you as an individual (IRA? Roth IRA?)
  • Open an account…and start funding it!
    • How do I open a retirement account on my own?
    • How do I fund my retirement account on my own?
  • Consider maxing-out your ROTH IRA 
    • $6,500 annually / $7,500 if over 50
  • Start the process to pay off all debt.
    • Having debt lowers your standard of living, which means there is less funds available to save. Less debt means more money to invest!
  • Fund a non-retirement investment account
    • Vanguard, American Funds, Schwab accounts.

Our best advice: Schedule a Stewardship Review with us, or consult another financial professional to see what options work best for you.


I’m Self-employed. What should I do?

  • Solo 401(k) – A solo 401(k) is an individual 401(k) designed for a business owner with no employees. In fact, IRS rules say you can’t contribute to a solo 401(k) if you have full-time employees, though you can use the plan to cover both you and your spouse (Nerdwallet).
  • SEP IRA – A SEP IRA is a basic individual retirement account, much like a traditional IRA. SEP IRAs are for business owners, and contributions are tax-deductible. Investments grow tax-deferred until retirement, when distributions are taxed as income (Nerdwallet).

Our best advice: Schedule a Stewardship Review with us, or consult another financial professional to see what options work best for you.


How Much of my Income Should I Set Aside for Retirement?

In a previous episode…#027: “How Much Money Do I Need in Retirement?” we speak specifically to this question, and let’s take a moment to revisit this.

  • 80% Rule –  Many experts suggest that you should shoot for a retirement income of roughly 80% of your current income level. For younger folks (in their 20’s and 30’s), this recommendation may not be very helpful. But by the time you reach your 40’s and 50’s, the recommendation starts to make more sense. Note that higher income earners generally do not need to replace 80% of their income to survive. In my experience, once in retirement, many typically spend between 35% and 50% of their pre-retirement income. 
  • Modified Living Expense: Once you are within 5 to 10 years from your projected retirement date, you throw out the notion of 80% and focus on your actual living expenses. Subtract any retirement savings and work related expenses and you’re getting closer to a helpful number. 

What would be a good target for retirement/redeployment savings at any age?

  • Ideally, you should shoot to save 10%-25% of your income toward retirement.  For some listeners, this seems like an unattainable goal. If you can’t do 10%-25%, you should start somewhere. Here are some easy ways to get started. 
    • Setup your own Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or Roth IRA and start adding $50 to $100 every month.
    • Each time you get a pay raise, consider increasing your savings rate as well.


Should I Look for Another Job that Offers Retirement Benefits?

This is a good question to ask!  Our answer without knowing any more background information would be…It depends.  Since there are alternative options, I wouldn’t just change a job ONLY because of a lack of a retirement plan. An option that is before you is to consider sitting down with your employer/boss and talk to them about the possibility of them offering a retirement plan, not just to you, but to your co-workers also.  It is important to know that it is not too expensive or cumbersome to set up and operate in today’s digital world!

One thing that is in your court today is that there are a lot of job options today, and even those that are good with hiring new entry level positions if you are considering a career change.  So, if you are thinking about a new career path, now may be the time to do it, and seek out an employer that offers this fabulous retirement benefit.


Stewardship Application

As our closing application, let me read from the website about saving for retirement…for it is a good wrap-up for our discussion today:

“Christians are wise to examine their current spending patterns and their perceived future financial needs. When considering how to save for retirement, it is good to pray over the matter, search the Scriptures on the appropriate use of money, and meet with a financial adviser. Saving is wise, and trusting God is wise. As we save for retirement, we recognize that the goal is not a selfish enjoyment of a lavish life after years of work. The goal is not even self-sufficiency, since our dependence is always on God. The goal is to exercise godly wisdom in providing for our needs in future years and having enough to continue giving to others. Our trust is not in government programs or 401(k)s or individual retirement accounts. Our hearts are set on things above, where our true treasure is. Ultimately, our money belongs to God and is directed for His purposes.”

Well said.  Plan for tomorrow. Yet fully trust in God as your great provider.  If there is no retirement plan at your current place of work…time to get saving on your own or have a discussion with your employer!


Next Steps


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