Nowadays, retirement is a scary thing. Most folks rely pretty heavily on social security to meet their needs. Some folks have pensions and savings accounts and stock investments. Analysts say that the majority of people in America don't prepare for the latter years of their lives.
When my husband and I got married, my in-laws encouraged my husband to get a job that offered a good retirement package. At the time, retirement was light-years away. We couldn't really relate to the necessity they understood all too well in the latter days of Summer in their lives. The leaves were just beginning to lose the brilliance of their Summer frivolity. They could smell Autumn. They could feel Autumn in their bones. They knew Winter would be upon them and they would need to have planted enough in the Spring to survive the long dry Summers of living life to the fullest. They knew the Autumn vats and root cellars needed to be well-stocked to meet the needs of the fruitless Winter.
Bless my in-laws. They did their best to advise us to do what they were doing. Their home was an investment. They lived in a gorgeous duplex; the rental income paid for itself. They stashed away cash, and purchased other properties. We did what they did. Our first home was a duplex. I was a landlady at nineteen years old. Two years later the two-family house next door went up for sale and we thought we should buy it. The realtor didn't even want to take our earnest money because she thought we'd never get the loan. All we had in the bank was 150.00. I was confident our bank would lend it. Sure enough, they were more than willing. We had to rewrite our existing 6.5% mortgage to 9.5% for collateral but we got the house. The houses paid for themselves and gave us enough to stash in the bank for repairs when necessary.
My husband found a great job as a precision gauge maker for a young company that specialized in gauges. He was part of their profit sharing program. All the men who joined that company, became millionaires when the owner sold the business. Not so for my husband. You see, about 5 years into his employment, he was called to be a minister of the Gospel. He quit his job, cashed in his profits so we could move to Louisville, Kentucky and go to Bible school. We lived by faith. Lean years followed. His first pastorate paid about one-quarter of what he made in New England. Retirement was non-existent. Social security doubled because a minister is considered self-employed. We paid it out of our 109.00 a week. Years later, after getting other churches, we managed to put away a little bit in an annuity. Then 2008 rolled over us and we lost nearly half of what was accumulated.
Faith. We still live on faith. And I feel more secure today than I ever felt in my life. It's not because we depend upon rental incomes, Social Security or pensions. It's because we depend on our Maker...the One who called my husband to ministry in 1979. No matter what the government or market does, I truly believe God will provide my every need in the Autumn of our lives--as well as the Winter.