““For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.””
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
If going to work can prove a challenge, gazing beyond retirement’s horizon may offer an imagined golden age. But changes to the state pension age extended the working life for all of us. A state pension was introduced in 1946 and implemented in 1948. It ensured a contributory state pension for men age 65 and women age 60. The expected mortality age was then 68, so a pension covered three or eight years.
Pensions are paid by taxpayers and rely on the size of the workforce. Today, we can expect 30 years of life after retirement. Our children and grandchildren could anticipate considerably more as life expectancy currently increases two to three years every decade. It’s unreasonable for an active workforce to sustain pensions over such a long period. It is also a challenge for many to know how to fill these years while spreading their finances. Some have brilliant pensions from their jobs, yet these are becoming less generous. Anyone with a parent in care also knows the astronomical cost. Where once children anticipated an inheritance, this will become a benefit for the few not the many.
Such thoughts can create a measure of panic if we’re defined by society’s current financial models. I was reading a lovely account of a retired 68-year-old who had limited finance yet spoke of how little money he required to do those things he enjoyed in life. Fear of what has not happened easily grips us. Such fears are unquantifiable because they’re imagined, not real. So returning to scripture we recall that God has a plan for our lives through his promise.
I find two challenges. Firstly, discovering that plan and secondly, accepting that plan. I’ve experienced deep sadness in my life. It has taken turns I neither encouraged nor wanted. Yet, despite my pained reaction, I’ve discovered God in each twist and every turn. I’m not saying I am a model disciple. I’ve fought back out of anger and frustration but I’ve eventually found my way back to God. Circumstances don’t change but my outlook can.
Do you have a plan for your retirement?
Lord, all my days are in your hands. Let me serve you all my days.