by Dennis Wiggs
What About the Future?
I believe that every young preacher should wisely invest for retirement. Too many of us older preachers have neglected to exercise this wise stewardship. Life has rushed by. Retirement or disability without adequate provisions now face men who have given their lives for the ministry. The wise, young preacher will begin saving now. Too wait another day is too late.
“But I can’t afford it!” You cannot afford not to! Would your young widow have the finances to bury you this week in the event of your untimely death?
“Oh, young preachers don’t die,” you say. Write or e-mail me. I can give you the names of several preachers who died in their early 30s.
Would your widow have enough funds to help her get settled in another town? Is money available to send the children to college?
“The church will provide financial assistance,” you declare. Think that statement through. Most churches cannot sustain a new pastor financially and support your family.
If you don’t exercise wise stewardship, no one will do it for you.
Begin a Program
Develop your own savings plan and stick to it. First, bank free. Visit several banks and determine how this can be accomplished. Refuse to pay service charges.
Second, establish a savings account. Have the bank automatically transfer a certain amount each month to the account. Forced savings pays off. Don’t touch that savings account!
If you must borrow money, you may use that account as collateral, and pay it back as soon as possible.
Third, establish a retirement account and invest the maximum each year. Free Will Baptists have a wonderful retirement program for pastors and church workers. Visit www.boardofretirement.com for more details.
For the young preacher, term insurance until about age 50 would be the least expensive. How much? Determine the funds your widow would need to get settled in a home if you are living in a parsonage. Leave her enough provisions for five years of financial security. Consider the number of children and determine how much they will need for a Christian college education.
Medical coverage should be provided by the church you pastor. Such an adequate provision would greatly benefit the church, especially in the event of a serious illness by the pastor or family member. Shop around. Seek group coverage if at all possible. You may want to evaluate Christian organizations that provide medical benefits.
Where Do I Get the Money?
Many Christian financial advisors suggest a 70-20-10 formula. Live on 70 percent of your income, save 20 percent, and (of course) tithe 10 percent. Split your savings between retirement—IRAs, annuities, mutual funds—and a rainy day fund set aside for life’s unexpected expenses.
Young preachers have many more opportunities today to make wise investments than older ministers had at your age. So think 30-40 years ahead. Where do you want to be financially when you retire?
Divide that number by the number of years remaining until you reach retirement age. Then establish a financial plan to systematically set aside money each week to reach your goal.
I’ll be with the Lord by the time you retire. Either you or your widow can place flowers on my grave in Ayden, North Carolina, and utter a prayer of thanksgiving for the above suggestions.
About the Writer:Dennis Wiggs retired in 2004 after many years in ministry.
Adapted from Contact magazine, April 1997.