What does the Bible have to say about saving for retirement?


One would be surprised to know that the word "retirement" never shows up in the Bible, but there are principles that point to the concept of retirement and the wisdom behind it.

Retirement is commonly viewed today as the process of forging financial independence for the day that people reach their senior years. The concept has evolved over the past decade. Whereas retirement was once viewed as something that people above 60 years of age would do, now some people are wanting to retire at the age of 40 or even 30. Whatever the age or income people try to reach, the goal is still simple: To prepare.

There are some believers who take the side that the concept of retirement can be unbiblical because it builds up a dependence on retirement funds and savings instead of on God, but it all really depends on the heart of the matter. A person who keeps it in mind that his retirement fund is still the grace of God is not necessarily building an idol, but a means to honor God with money.

Here are three points to ponder on about retirement to keep it in a biblical perspective.

Wisdom not worry

Preparation is not always a sign of a lack of faith. It's only when worry and anxiety become the goal of preparation that it becomes unhealthy not just for the spirit but even for the body. Our motivation in preparing for retirement should be to act in wisdom and not worry.

Proverbs 24:27 says, "Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house." Preparation can go a long way, but just like in any good work, we can sometimes find ourselves producing good works for the wrong reasons.

Rest not comfort

If you think retirement is going to be all about being lazy and taking vacations indulging in as many things as possible, 1 Timothy 5:6 reminds us that "...she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives."

Harry Emerson Fosdick once said, "Don't simply retire from something; have something to retire to." We may retire from work, but we never retire from the main purpose of honoring God through our lives.

Security not idolatry

1 Timothy 6:10 says, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs."

When we retire for the sake of having money, the process becomes more of idol-building than security-building. At the end of the day, it is God who is the source of rest, provision and life, not money.