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Retirement - how difficult can it be?

Updated on April 18, 2013

How is your retirement planning going? Have you been affected by the economic downturn and now have to work longer? Or do you think you're too young to worry about retirement?

The first day that I retired from work I wandered around thinking "What do I do now?" What should have been the beginning of a new and different chapter in my life was at first scary. How weird is that? But gradually I settled into a new routine, and began to enjoy the freedom that retirement can bring. But it's not all that it's cracked up to be for everyone.

In his book Nearing Home the famous evangelist Billy Graham gives good advice to both young and old about retirement. He points out the need for prudent planning about financial matters and health. Graham is clear that those who may be advanced in years still have a contribution to make, to pass on their skills and experience yet also to be alert to learn from the young.

The golden years?

He acknowledges that not everyone will enjoy their so-called golden years – he wonders if the term was invented by a compassionate soul who “kindly slipped a g in in front of the word old to ease the ache of reality” - perhaps because of illness, looking after a partner or reduced financial circumstances. But he also counsels against spending too much time working to have a comfortable old age, at the expense of family life. Perhaps echoing the view that on their deathbed, no one ever wished they had time to send one more email or complete another deal.

Quotes on growing old

Don't resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege. Unknown

They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing. Psalm 92:14 NKJV

I am still in the land of the dying; I shall be in the land of the living soon. John Newton

Death, the nation's #1 killer.

This world is not my home

As a teenager in the 1960s I remember that my Dad had an 8 track player in his car. He loved to listen to the songs of Jim Reeves and I certainly remember the words of this song:

This world is not my home I'm just a passing through

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue

The angels beckon me from heaven's open door

And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you

If heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do

The angels beckon me from heaven's open door

And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

Which of us hasn't felt the thrill of returning to our hometown, perhaps after a long absence? Graham reassures Christians that Heaven is our final home, a place of complete peace and security and joy forever.

If we are Christians we want to go to Heaven, and why noit. We believe in God and His son Jesus, say that we love them, so why wouldn't we want to be with them? As Jesus says in John 14 v 3, "I will come back and and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am."

Now although we want to go to heaven, I suspect most of us would say, just not yet. But sadly there are folks who feel that they have outlived their sell-by date, that life is no longer a pleasure.

Where is the best place to invest?

The bible advises us to “lay up treasure in heaven”, rather than on earth. No no one is suggesting that prudent saving is not worthwhile, but we are encouraged to make sure that our priorities are right. We can't earn our way into Heaven, for Jesus has already paid the price, but we can invest in our future by loving God and helping others as much as we can.

Wise words

Graham has wise words when he writes, “When your hopes and dreams fall apart or people disappoint you or turn against you.... And when infirmity and struggles of old age threaten to overwhelm you, turn your heart towards your Heavenly home.”

For those who believe in God, the retirement benefits are out of this world.


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