It’s a fact that people are living longer than ever before.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, since 1970 there has been about an eight-year increase on average in how long both genders of Americans will live. Most people live well into their 80s, and there are more centenarians and super-centenarians alive than ever before. According to National Institute on Aging (NIH), life expectancy nearly doubled during the 20th century with a tenfold increase in the number of Americans age 65 or older. There are approximately 35 million Americans age 65 or older. The oldest old—people 85 or older—constitute the fastest growing segment of the U.S population, about four million people.
If you think about this more specifically, many Baby Boomers are well into retirement now. This largest generation of Americans is going to live longer than ever and they are going to exist without paychecks (or at a reduced paycheck) for many, many years.
So these days, when people “retire” they often don’t really leave the work force at all. They go part time at their current jobs or find part time jobs. They become “you name it” emeritus or become an advisor or infrequent consultant. There are two reasons for this: They need some ancillary monies or they simply, as we have already said, need meaningful activities to continue to provide the needed value so critical to a fulfilled life.
This may be difficult for the younger of us to believe, but the reality is that as you approach 50 and get closer to retirement, you may truly start to dread the word. You may even hear yourself say things like: “I will never retire.”
Please understand that as you grow older your body will begin to tell you everyday to slow down, and even more emphatically, you’d better slow down. It’s time to think and plan about the next stages of life with purpose as you get closer to retirement. You can do this—you can connect both a meaningful life and a fun life with purpose if you think about it right now and put a plan in place to fund it.
Realizing that we will live, longer, there is one more important question to ponder. It is a question of how you will use that time. What gives life meaning for you personally? What current activities reflect your priorities? How has God been preparing you for the next stage of your life and then the next?
Retirement is nothing to fear. It’s something to think about in new God honoring ways, and then to start to plan wisely for. The Bible gives us some guidance on how to approach this issue. It also affirms the fact that there is a plan that we can follow communicated to us by those gentle whispers in our ear and a lifetime of preparation for what is next.
Read, pray and reflect on Psalm 32 paying close attention to the verses:
I will instruct you and teach you on the way you should go.
I will counsel you and watch over you!
And, Rejoice in the Lord and be glad.
Discovering our future together,