Retirement Is Near But I Can’t Afford to Retire

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It’s a sad comment that I hear too frequently. The minister simply does not have the money necessary to retire. No matter how many ways it has been calculated, it just can’t be done. What are the alternatives?

First, there are no magic bullets. You need to be prepared to make some tough decisions. Second, once you’ve made the decision, move forward. There is no need to kick yourself over previous bad judgments. There is no need to dwell in the land of “what if.” There is no need to live a life of despondency and depression. Life is still a gift.

When someone approaches me with this situation, I ask a series of questions. Perhaps one or more will apply to you if you find yourself in this situation.

 1. Have I missed something?

Does my spouse have some retirement funds I missed? Does my spouse have social security income I have not counted?

2. Am I certain of the money I will need for my retirement lifestyle?

Perhaps you overestimated the funds you will need for a comfortable retirement. Perhaps you will be okay with the amount you calculated.

3. Do I have any assets I can sell?

Some retirees sell their homes and use the equity toward retirement. They typically move to smaller accommodations and rent. By the way, a reverse mortgage is a form of selling your home to get income. Though the television ads look great, make certain you get careful advice before you take that route. There are many cautions that need to be heeded.

4. Can I work a few more years?

Maybe if you worked, say, three more years, you can delay your retirement and save aggressively. Many older baby boomers are taking this path. If you are eligible for Social Security income, delaying retirement will increase your monthly check. The increase applies all the way to age 70.

5. Can I find part-time income to supplement my retirement?

Many ministers are in the fortunate position of being able to take interim positions or to supply preaching in churches. Not only does that keep the minister sharp in ministry, it provides supplemental income to his retirement.

For many, the topic of retirement creates significant stress in their lives. In my upcoming book, The Minister’s Salary, additional, basic steps are provided to help you think through this and other important topics. I hope that you will check it out.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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