The Critical Savings Question?


I know I should save but I’m not. Why?

There are multiple studies showing that 45% of millennials have no savings. They don’t have savings for a time between paychecks. They don’t have savings in case of illness. And they don’t have savings for future needs of any kind including retirement.

Now, retirement is something I know about having spent 30 years encouraging and facilitating savings for that purpose, to fund faith workers during the last 30 years of life. While we call it the Future Funded Ministry years, the issue is the same no matter how you come at it, “Will you have enough to…?” fill in the blank.

As Christians, we believe that there is a Kingdom building purpose in life, one that brings glory to God. What happens during those last 30 years is largely a function of the preparations made during the prior 40. Not only financially but experientially, spiritually and yes, even physically.

My observation is that there are too many of faith who have not connected with the truth laid out in the prior paragraph. When I do a data base sort on the 10,000 faith based workers in our database, Envoy Financial, and check out the average balance it is troubling. Certainly there are those that have other outside resources other than what is in their 403(b) or 403(b)(9) retirement savings accounts. Anecdotally, I believe that the percentage of those with “outside” resources is small at maybe only 10-15 percent. That leaves the remaining amount with not much of a balance.

When running those numbers it includes not only those in the millennial generation, those that followed the Baby Boomers, but incidentally the Baby Boomers as well. From this reality, the issue or problem of not enough resources to freely impact and change lives, is even bigger.

I recently read an article suggesting that saving for retirement has issues because many don’t think it is possible, worthwhile or necessary. The author put forth a circumstance suggesting that by not buying that daily cup of java and instead investing the money in a moderate mutual fund could generate over $100,000 during a 30 year period. He observed that paying the equivalent of $100,000 for a cup of coffee was expensive. Much to his surprise, his newspaper article engendered a surprisingly wide variety of responses. He used an assumption of a 6% return and was questioned about the possibility of achieving such results. Yes it is possible!

He was challenged about his assumption that people could or should give up such a vital pleasure. On the one hand, I own a coffee plantation in Laos and I am always happy to see coffee consumption rise worldwide but on the other hand, that $4.00 cup of coffee is not really a necessity, or is it?

He was challenged about how realistic it was to assume someone could be that committed to taking the indicated action for 30 years?

This got me thinking about our very human nature. How many truth’s do we know that we do not follow?

1. My health depends on healthy eating: I eat salads sometimes. And other times, I have a double cheese burger from In-and-Out with fries and a shake.

2. My mental acuity depends on actively using it to keep it shaper: I spend time on the couch doing nothing but watching aimless chatter.

3. My relationships require constant nurture: I procrastinate on returning that missed phone call.

4. My spiritual growth depends on my practicing the spiritual disciplines: I open my Bible when I go to church.

5. My writing skills depend on practice: I don’t.

6. My relationship with God depends on the frequency and depth of our conversation: I treat my time as only for me.

You see the point? Consider your own list.  It’s a good thing we serve a leader full of Grace, otherwise, I would be a total failure in each of the above areas.

Here is the concluding paragraph in the newspaper article that prompted this missive:

Saving success doesn’t hinge so much on which expenses you cut back on, or which investment assumptions you use, but rather on the commitment you make.

In Russ White’s article “Trying to Make A Lot of Out of a Little Money Ignites Debate” in the July 5th 2017 issue of USA Today’s Money Section, he hits on a truth that applies to money and to many other additional topics.

Everything we do, when we do it to the glory of God, requires a commitment. Every Commitment is then a decision. It revolves around first knowing the act is necessary to achieve a given result and then deciding whether to do it or not. It’s the decision part that is critical. And you know what comes with that decision? The painful but necessary truth of accountability. Saint Paul said that he often knew what was right and did not do it. So do I. So do you.

I started the conversation talking about millennials and saving for retirement and other necessities and let me finish with that topic. The “if we don’t” issue is obvious yet obviously ignored. The circumstance that pains me the most is when a ministry employer takes donated dollars and prioritizes them for the retirment benefit of staff. Some, too many, ignore the gift.

The typical excuses include: too busy, don’t know how, investing scares me as well as plain old procrastination. But all of these are hollow excuses. We make time for what is important or what we simply want to do and there is help available to teach us both how to save and invest. We have a couple thousand years affirming the fact that we do not know when the end is near while during the same time frame, the lessons of Matthew 25 affirming the priority of preparation and good stewardship are ignored.

 Success is just a decision away. Be committed to success.

Stay with us on the Journey with Truth Along the Way.


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