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3 reasons to understand “longevity”

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There will be one million people over 100 years old by 2050 in the United States.  

I can remember Willard Scott on the Today Show was excited to highlight someone who had reached this milestone.

A little background: There is a difference between “life span” and “life expectancy."  Life expectancy means the average life span for a total population. We identify this with mortality tables. These tables are used by life insurance companies to calculate the costs of insurance among other things.  Life span is the actual length of an individual’s life.

Throughout most of history, the estimated life expectancy was impacted by infant mortality plus a whole category of medical issues that can be summarized as “infections." It was not until those issues were addressed and the results minimized, that life expectancy grew much beyond the 30-40 year mark. In addition, deaths attributed to war cannot be minimized. Over five hundred thousand people, a half million, have died as a result of the Iraq war for example.

For many generations there were no grandparents as it requires three generations to be living simultaneously.  Anecdotally, I can remember growing up and hearing my parents say, “He just retired last year, and now he is dead.”  They were referring to a 65-year-old and reflecting how many people died within 1-3 years of retirement.

Let’s agree that people in the United States often live well into their eighties or nineties. A typical age for retiring from the paid workforce is 65-70. So there are fifteen to twenty years subsequent to that and those years can be divided into at least three different life stages.  We’ll detail those stages another time.

Living longer is real, living longer is relevant, living longer is important. Here are three reasons why: 

  1. Longevity is important to business and ministry.
  2. Longevity is important for friends and family.
  3. Longevity is important for the country.

Longevity is important to Business and Ministry. There are at least 3 reasons:

  1. People with specific needs creates a market for business and ministry focus.
  2. People with specific concerns and issues provides a focus for service and support.
  3. People with longer life spans are valuable resources in the workplace and volunteers for ministry.

AgeLab’s Ben Coughlin says, “Longevity will be one of the greatest drivers of innovation for the next one hundred years.”

Longevity is important for the family.  Here are two reasons why that is true:

  1. Those living through the last quarter of their life are a source of wisdom and perspective. Knowing that learning from the experience of others is less painful than the learning that comes from our experience is a valuable perspective.
  2. Those living through the last quarter of their life can provide a place of emotional refuge and support.  Much research and anecdotal evidence suggests that there are closer and often more valuable relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren than between the grandchildren and their parents.

Longevity is important for the country. Here are two reasons:

  1. The change in makeup of the country impacts public policy. Social Security is often referred to as the “Third Rail of Politics."  Tip O’Neill, Speaker of the House during the Reagan presidency, is credited with the metaphor. The third rail on an electric railway carries the power and if you touch it, you die.
  2. The seniors over retirement age, when considered as an expanding asset rather than a liability, the potential is enormous.

During our years of study about the re-definition of retirement and referring to Future Funded Ministry, we have learned a lot about what happens, or does not happen, after retirement. We have also learned a lot about the importance of individual preparation and about the importance of organizational and ministry support prior to retirement. Without preparation results are minimized. With preparation the results are maximized. This is uniquely true with regards to retirement or with the more substantive reference to Future Funded Ministry.

Be challenged to think about these issue along with me. Are you in preparation mode or simply passive about the upcoming years? How are you connecting to that definition of Future Funded Ministry as being a time of reward for past service and simultaneously becoming a stepping stone to future ministry?

Longevity is a reality. Longevity brings value. Longevity provides an opportunity to live with meaning to the end of your life. Longevity provides an opportunity to lead your ministry or organization by supporting and encouraging your staff to connect, engage, and carry out God’s plan for their lives, to the very end.

A lifetime of preparation leads to a life time of purpose.  A lifetime of purpose fulfilled, means a lifetime of meaning and joy.

Bruce Bruinsma

Better Get Prepared

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Did you ever get to the end of the road and it was a drop off to nothingness?  I’m afraid we are on such a path and aren’t reading the “tea leaves”.  “Unless deep seated social change occurs then a longer life is a gloomy prospect making longevity a curse and not a gift”.  So said Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott in their new book, The 100-Year Life.

What does that mean?  Some new statistics suggest that about 50% of those born in 2007 or thereafter, will live to be over 100.  Also, those born around the mid 1980’s will still be alive and somewhat kicking in their mid 90’s.

For decades now it has been our cultural practice to start worrying about whether we will have enough for retirement in our mid to late 50’s.  Then we start figuring out what we are going to do when we actually hit retirement, or general retirement age.  No wonder the numbers of those without enough and/or struggling with finding meaning and purpose for their 4th quarter are growing rapidly. 

The authors of the book also say that the failure to address the issue and to begin to think with an innovative mindset is a problem worth addressing, both individually, within our marriages, and corporately.  When we add our faith into the equation, the issue looms even larger.

I’ve recently written on how changing technology may alter our options during the 4th quarter.  For example, we may have to change from driving the truck to programming its delivery route and schedule.  Instead of teaching face to face, we may have to learn how to manage Skype and GoToMeeting.  The changing world may impact those in the 4th quarter even more than the rest of us.

I was speaking yesterday to two young financial planners in training.  They are both about 30 and passionate about helping Pastors and faith based workers deal with all the different life stage issues.  First, I suggested that  we examined the three different stages, seasons, of life that make up the “retirement years”.  They were a bit skeptical?  "Isn't all just retirement?" they asked.  I suggested that there were significant differences between the 3 stages.  Each stage then required both a new understanding and a different approach to planning.  More skepticism.

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Then I followed up and asked if  significant differences existed  for the 30 years of life between age 20 and age 50.  They looked at me with the “duh” written all over their  face.  "Of course there are!" they said.  Understandably!  Then I asked, “Why then don’t we expect there to be differences between the 30 years extending from age 65 to 95?”  Their expressions slowly  changed to acceptance of a new reality.

The research and literature is exploding about the impact of longevity.  Increasingly we are growing our understanding not only of the reality of longevity, but the need to both understand and begin preparation for it earlier than our late 50’s and well after age 65 or 70.

As Christians, we are called to be faithful to God’s purpose for our life, for a lifetime.  We are to be prepared not just for a season or an arbitrary age, but for a lifetime.  That preparation must be funded and we call that a Future Funded Ministry plan.  Now we need a name for the time of preparation encompassing everything else prior to retirement and everything in addition to money.

Here are a couple of options.  What do you think?

A ministry for a lifetime plan?

Faithful for a lifetime plan?

A lifetime plan?

A future ministry plan?

Preparing The Way?

Future purpose?

Equipped future?

Well, you get the idea.  We do need to make ready and be equipped for our Kingdom Purpose.  The importance of being prepared for our Kingdom purpose in all areas of our life, can’t be emphasized enough.

So "be prepared", it is more than the Boy Scout’s marching song.

Continue the journey at Future Funded Ministry

-Bruce

Luck Examined

Are you preparing to make a difference or preparing to do nothing?  Will your options be determined by “the luck of the draw” or will they be determined by your planning, preparation and hard work?

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I just finished reading an editorial by George Wills, conservative commentator with the Washington Post.  He was reflecting on a commencement address recently made by Mitch Daniels, former Governor of Indiana and currently the President of Purdue University.

 

As he reflected on the wisdom imparted to the graduating students, I began reflecting on the graduation process we will all go through.  That is the process of transitioning, graduating,  from our career or work  to the time of opportunity, from job to options, and from 3rd to 4th quarter, or as Bob Buford says…. Life II.

 

Much of Mitch Daniels comments were directed towards the progressive and debilitating thought process that our circumstance, options and opportunities are essentially a matter of “luck”.  The pervasive and enticing perspective that anyone’s achievements are not their own, but controlled or directed by usually sinister outside forces against which you have little control and that you must look to Government to protect and promote you.

 Is Government replacing God?

First of all,  this viewpoint about life suggests that Government is replacing God and that our choices and work ethic don’t matter.  Try telling LeBron James and his Cavalier teammates that luck was the causative reason for their  winning the NBA championship.  Will details the progressive agenda: "Government must comprehensively regulate, redistribute and generally fine-tune society in order to engineer “fairness” to counter life's pervasive and pernicious randomness (“luck”)."

 

Many years ago I researched various thought leaders about the meaning of "luck".  My conclusion was that “positive results’’ occurred as a consequence of consistently attempting to solve a problem, being willing to fail often and celebrating each success as it developes.  “The harder I work, the luckier I get” was the way Samuel Goldwyn described it.  Daniels quoted Thomas Edison:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

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Faith, work and the ability to recognize options and alternatives are the key ingredients to a purposeful and fulling life.  When you combine those attributes with a focus on positively impacting others, you are taking purpose and fulfillment to an even higher level.  Then when you apply those principles to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd stages of your life and in retirement, amazing things can happen.

 A Faithful Life

It’s what you do with what you have, what you have been given to steward, that makes the biggest difference in living a life that can be described as Faithful to the end, Faithful for a lifetime.

 The idea of luck is a pernicious deterrent

We’ve examined luck and found it a false promise and a pernicious deterrent to finding both meaning and purpose in our lives.

 

Let’s continue on the journey of life together….and be Faithful for a lifetime.

Visit this and more blogs at Trusted Advice Along the Way! 

 

-Bruce

The Disconnected Between Preparation and Purpose

Each stage of life has both preparation and purpose.  Each stage of life becomes a building block for what comes next.  Our preparation is continuous whether we know it or not.  The purpose remains constant.  That purpose is the support and construction of God’s earthly Kingdom.

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While we can explore the meaning and impact of all the concepts suggested in the prior paragraph, my focus here is on the disconnect between preparation and purpose, especially as we reach what the world calls retirement.  We know retirement is not a biblical concept but preparation to fulfill God’s purposes certainly is.

 

So where is the disconnect?  Think about it this way.  Our lifetime is one of preparation for what comes next.  When we hit our 60’s and contemplate what is next, our culture prompts two priorities:

  1. Have enough money
  2. Do nothing.  Or said a little more gently, you only do the things that will bring you pleasure.

 

The biggest flaw is that the purpose has no meaning.  True meaning only comes when:

  1. You are involved “outside” of yourself
  2. Someone is impacted other than yourself
  3. You make a difference in someone else's life

Relationships are the keys to happiness and meaning.  This is true in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of our life. 

 

The disconnect for so many happens in our 60’s.  This is when we are as prepared as we are going to be for what comes next.  Instead of applying that preparation for a meaningful purpose, we just stop so we can focus on ourselves and doing little or nothing with meaning and purpose.

 

What’s the phrase?  "I’m going to retiree and then I’m going to die."  Or, " I’m going to retire and I have no clue as to what I’m going to do."  Now that is a disconnect.  A disconnect because the real questions are:

  1. Based on my preparation and proclivity, how am I going to further the Kingdom now?  How am I going to find meaning with purpose?
  2. Both what I love to do and my passion for doing it suggests that my purpose for the next phase of life will be……!

 

One result of the disconnect is that all the preparation was for nothing… literally.  It suggests that either God does not have a plan for the next life stage or you have decided not to follow it.  Either way it diminishes you personally.

 

shutterstock_426704356.jpgHere is a quick reminder to help bridge the gap between preparation and purpose.  This reminder reiterates the three stages of “retirement” (Future Funded Ministry).  Being faithful to God’s call on your life during these three stages will bring meaning and fulfill God’s purpose.

 

Here are the stages:

  1. 67-77 Active Application
  2. 78-87 Insightful Stewardship
  3. 87 > Reflective sharing

 

God has a purpose for each stage and for each of us.  He uniquely and individually prepares us for that time.  He promises to strengthen and uphold us during those times.

 

Here are examples of all three stages:

Active Application: Regardless of the politics, both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are examples.

Insightful Stewardship: Staying with politics, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove come to mind.

Reflective Sharing: Billy Graham and Jimmie Carter to name a few.

 

These are just examples of how you can help build the Kingdom and use your gifts, your preparation, to make a difference during each and every stage.  Just knowing that is true may be an encouragement to sons and daughters as they support aging parents.  Just knowing this is true may be an encouragement to you as you are approaching your mid to late 60’s.  Just knowing this is true may be an encouragement to all those wives who are concerned about a retiring spouse getting underfoot.  It’s not the end, it is the beginning of an important and fruitful time of life.

 

Let me know your story so we can encourage others.

Read more on FUTURE FUNDED MINISTRY with TRUSTED ADVICE ALONG THE WAY. 

 

- Bruce Bruinsma

The Off Balance Sheet Moral Liability

 The phone rings.  I answer.  The Board Chairman of "XYZ" Ministry introduces himself and says, “We have a long term staff member who is retiring in three months.  They just approached our Senior Pastor and shared that they were physically and emotionally prepared for retirement but that they had very little in the way of financial resources.  I’ve worked for the church for 30 years and we never had a retirement plan.  How are you going to help me to fund my retirement?”

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He then said, “We don’t know what to do?  Can you help us?”

A liability?

Does the church or any other ministry organization have a liability in this situation?  If there is one, it does not show on the balance sheet and can’t be found in the Articles of Incorporation.  Yet, does the liability exist?  I’d suggest it is as real as the mortgage.

If the Chairman asks the congregation what they should do, the answer will be clear.
“We have a responsibility to………………….”  You can fill in the blank.

This situation is one that rears its uncomfortable head on a regular basis.  The Board Chairman continued, “We know we should have put in a retirement plan years ago, but we just didn’t.  The pastor never pushed for it and there were always budget reasons why not to do it.  I guess we just hoped that God would provide and then proceeded not to think about it or even start to address the issue.”

Addressing the issue

Our research shows that about 40% of all faith based 501c3 organizations do not have any formal way they are addressing this issue of “a moral liability that exists and is growing but not reflected on the balance sheet.”  The issue is clear and growing more prevalent every day with churches, but they are not the only ones.

It sneaks up on you

The moral liability sneaks up on some very silently and over a long time.  A significant mission organization came to us a few years ago and asked us to help them determine the long term financial health of the field missionaries.  The field missionary staff was aging and there was some concern among the headquarters leadership that resources at some point might get tight.  You see they had a defined benefit plan in place that paid out $13 per month for every year of service.  In case you have not done the math, $13 per month times 30 years of service amounts to a whopping $390 per month.

shutterstock_220991629.jpgIt took some time and lots of spreadsheet work but we calculated the amount that was needed to provide a long term missionary family with a $39,000 per year annual income, including social security, would require about 66% of their operating budget.  Big moral liability and the end of the ministry.  You see they had “assured” the staff that they would be “taken care of” in retirement.

That “being taken care of” seems to be the tacit assurance projected by many ministries to their staff when the issue is not addressed directly.

Not every decision is a good one

Another organization had a meeting 20 years before with key staff and explored the need for a retirement plan.  The leadership agreed that each would take care of their own and signed a document evidencing that decision.  Now it’s 20 years later and two of the five key staff members have approached the board.  “We know we said we would take care of our own retirement, but with everything that has happened in the course of daily ministry, we never did it.  Now we have nothing and are coming to you so determine how you are going to help us.”

The off balance sheet moral liability rears its head again.

One more example: There was a new ministry start up lead by a dynamic young pastor and his wife.  God blessed their ministry and it was growing quickly.  He was wise enough to approach his Board and suggest that they set up a retirement plan for himself and his wife.  He was quite specific about the need and even the process.  He was especially concerned about his wife if anything happened to him.

The Board in its wisdom determined that because of his young age and the growing need for resources, they would not set up a plan, now.  They did say, and they put it in the organization minutes that if anything happened to him, they would provide for his wife for her lifetime.  Yes, you are right, about 18 months later he died.  The board has paid out in excess of $500,000 over the ensuing years to care for his wife.  She is now in her late 70’s and going strong.  What was the opportunity cost for not taking wise stewardship action almost 40 years ago?

The off balance sheet moral liability that exists within churches and parachurch organizations is huge.

Not only is the potential cost in dollars for miniistry huge but also the cost in diminished ministry.  Good organizational stewardship takes many different paths.  Paying attention to the long term financial needs of your staff is certainly one of them.

shutterstock_399966472.jpgOne more twist to this conundrum.  Think of this, if 1/3 of your staff upon retirement were financially able to continue in ministry with you at no cost to the organization, how would the ministry change?  How would His kingdom be impacted?  And how much better would your “moral balance sheet” look?

We are convinced that ministry is for a lifetime and it must be funded in every season of life.  By your parents when you were young, by your profession, your work, thereafter and until you hit that last season we call the 4th Quarter.  Then ministry needs to be funded by the savings and good stewardship that took place during the prior years.  Putting a Future Funded Ministry plan in place need not be either expensive or administratively taxing. It is important!

Think about your balance sheet.  Think about the people.  Think about your stewardship responsibility organizationally as well as personally.  This is important.  Don’t put it off.

START YOUR FUTURE-FUNDED MINISTRY JOURNEY HERE.

-Bruce Bruinsma 

Money and Purpose Do Mix

 

shutterstock_411817438.jpgAs a postscript to Rick Warren’s Magnus Opus, The Purpose Driven Life, he suggests that money and purpose do mix.  I’d take it one step further; it is difficult to fulfill a purpose without money as a component.  Seldom is it an issue of too much, or too little, but it is a matter of how you use what you’ve been given.

So, how are resources to be used?

Just like the other resources God provides, time, talent, energy, intelligence, wisdom and money are to be used to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives and for His honor and glory.  Sounds good, hard to do!

Resources defined

There is a direct correlation between what we have, how we use it and our faithfulness to God’s call on our lives.  The definition of resources is: the availability of support materials, like money, and other assets, like intellectual property, used to function effectively and achieve a mission or goal.  There are two keys factors.  One is to have sufficient resources to support the cause and second to use them wisely to achieve the purpose.

During the preparation of a recent message on Future Funded Ministry, I was reminded that each season or stage of life must be funded.  In other words, there must be enough money to breathe, live, and manage our affairs.  As a young person, our funding source was our parents or guardians.  Entering into adulthood it became our job or profession.  During the 4th quarter of life it is the savings we have accumulated to fund our future ministry.  If we have not prepared, we are either totally dependent on the government, others, or we continue to work.  I spoke to a McDonald’s worker who was clearly over 65 and asked why he was working.  His answer, yes with a smile, was “because I just did not save quite enough to make it”.

The Money Challenge

9262579767_e63989c405_m.jpgMoney is a challenge.  We all know the story Jesus told about the difficulty the camel had getting through the small opening in the City wall called “the eye of the camel”.  It is hard for us to prioritize and use effectively any God given resource, particularly when it is given in abundance.  I know a man who God has blessed with great intelligence and insight into how things work.  Unfortunately, he uses it as a hammer rather than a lever.  Virtually any topic we discuss ends up with his wondering why I do not know as much about the topic as he does?  And his wondering why I don’t?   I believe his intelligence has become who he is, rather than a tool to be used to carry out God’s purpose in his life.  His resource has become a barrier.

The Purpose of Money

Returning to the idea of money and purpose.  The purpose of money is to support God’s plan for your life and as a lever, to multiply that impact beyond what we can do without it.  God’s call on our life is both universal and specific.  Universally we are to represent Him to all we meet and specifically to fulfill our role in building His Kingdom.  How are you doing in figuring it out?  How are you doing in carrying it out?

Expanding the reach of the Future Funded Ministry perspective.

We are contemplating the expansion of the idea of Future Funded Ministry by creating The Future Funded Ministry Foundation.  The FFMF will then be charged with fulfilling the mission of spreading the idea of Future Funded Ministry across the faith based world.  The message is universal and applicable to all ages and life stages. It is a story we believe  needs to be told from the pulpit, from those in the pews, and by all those claim to be followers of Jesus.  Historically,  Future Funded Ministry is presented as only a re-definition of retirement, it is increasingly clear that it is a message for all. The idea of Future Funded Ministry was birthed in the 90's, expanded during the last decade, and now ready to be embraced universally.

I will appreciate any thoughts or perspective on this idea that you are prompted to share.

Money and purpose do mix. It is always a good idea to review the purpose and to  take inventory of all our resources. It is a good idea to evaluate how effective and efficient we are in   managing, using  and  leveraging  them. This raises the personal question, "How are you doing?"

Have a great week as we move into summer activities.  This is a good time to reflect and connect.

Glad you are with us as we journey together with Trusted Advice Along The Way.

Bruce Bruinsma

Now is the time

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Here is a high-impact Quote:

“I am dedicated to continuing my education and to follow God’s purpose and plan for my life as long as He allows me to be in this life.  I should not have put off doing this for more than 65 years but God is opening new doors for me now.”

The writer of this statement is 77 years old. His view of what God is calling him to do in what the world calls “retirement” doesn't sound anything like the TV ads trumpeting fishing, travel and spending your kid’s inheritance on yourself.

High-Impact Perspective:

The 4th quarter of our lives can and should be the most impactful. Because of our longevity, we have experienced more, lived more, made more mistakes and even learned what works. We are at the high point of our spiritual maturity and can have a clearer view of God’s preparation, process, and purpose for this season of our lives.

Unfortunately, this season is often viewed as a time of retreat, rather than a time of going forward. A time of looking out the rear view mirror, rather than peering out the front windshield. It is the Winter of life rather than a Summer with new opportunities.

Get Started Now!

If this writer quoted above, who is also a friend, can experience God opening doors for him at age 77, doesn’t it make sense that we acknowledge God's preparation process for each of us. We can begin now, during our current season, whatever that may be. I’m convinced that during each season of life, God has a calling, provides preparation and has a Kingdom purpose. In order to achieve His purpose, He has a unique plan, a role for each of us to fill to enhance the Kingdom.

Funding Needed During Every Season of Life.

I’ve also noticed that there is a funding need to support our lives of service during each season. During the early seasons it is usually our family. During progressive seasons we become responsible with compensation for work as the typical funding mechanism. During those productive years extending beyond 67-70, the funding must come from our wise stewardship of God’s resources starting years before.  In each stage there is what we call a Future Funded Ministry plan. Of course, all ministry (service and changing lives) is in the future and during each season of life it must be funded.

The hymn, “Keep your eyes upon Jesus” is applicable here too. When the focus of our lives is on Him, we are looking up, out and forward. Knowing that there are seasons ahead, knowing that He chooses, calls, prepares and upholds us, and knowing that each season of life is part of the building blocks of life we can conclude that the last seasons can and perhaps should be the most productive……productive for Him.

God’s place for you, in every season.

There are thousands of churches in this country that do not have pastors to shepherd them and ministers to preach the word. My friend at 77, is prepared to answer that call. He is stepping up to a role as shepherd and minister. Having never done it before, he understands that God has uniquely prepared him for this opportunity to serve. 

On the other hand, there are those ministers that have been in the pulpit for too many years and it is time to move on to what God has prepared for the next season of their life. There are so many needs, so many options and God sees them all. Being available to His call with enough resources to allow the freedom to answer and go is part of our larger stewardship responsibility and opportunity.

A quick quiz.

When He calls will I answer? Where He calls will I go?

Prepare now to finish well later.

Here is a thought that arrived on my desk recently:

Finishing well is not an accident; it takes intentionality.

My friend is now being intentional with his life. He is building on the experiences of many seasons and only lamenting that he put it off for so long. Let his story be your story, with a slight twist:

Let your Future Funded Ministry start now!

Trusted Advice for the journey ahead.

Come join us on the journey.

Bruce Bruinsma

A Retirement Bombshell!

We were talking about politics and a staff member reminded me that Hillary Clinton is 68, Donald Trump is 69, and Bernie Sanders is 74.… all in the first stage of retirement.  Clinton-Trump-Sanders-jpg.jpg

What stage are you in?  This realization affirmed for me the truth about and the meaning of the “Active Application” stage of retirement.  This is the one that lasts approximately between 67 and 78.

 

The “Active Application” stage of life. 

The description of this stage is as follows: The ability and capacity to put into practice what you have learned up to that point in your life.  You can lead, be very productive and bring energy to your endeavors.

To continue with these examples Ronald Reagan was 69 years and 11 months when he was inaugurated.  Eight years later, when he left the presidency, he was 77.  The years seem to fit.  Just to add further perspective, Moses was 120 when he died.... and then there was always Methuselah.

 

Preparation can start now.

How energizing it is to know that we are just hitting our full stride in terms of experience, wisdom, life perspective and hopefully spiritual maturity during that first third of the last quarter of your life.  While God is certainly preparing you to carry out His call on your life during this time, He is also calling you to an active life of preparation.  I checked and it appears that Aaron and Moses were in their early forties when they appeared before Pharaoh.  Caleb was 40 when he was sent out as one of the spies to the Promised Land.  An interesting personal question is this, when did you, or when will you connect with the reality that the last quarter of your life may be your most productive, your most impactful?

Perhaps that realization has not set in yet.  Observationally, it seems as if the light turns on, the dawn appears, somewhere between 40 and 50.  That light includes the realization that there is a fourth quarter and that preparing for it needs to get started.  Often this takes the form of a fear that there won’t be sufficient resources…. not enough money.  Actually doing something about funding, or lack thereof, often takes longer and parenthetically, costs more.

 

Total preparation.

It is important to note that financial preparation is not the only stewardship act being prompted.  The stewardship of our experiences.… what we learn, the stewardship of our time.... how we prepare and the stewardship of our spiritual journey.... how we are plugged into God’s plan and carrying it out are equally important components of our preparation.

 

Here is the bombshell: The last quarter of your life can and should be the most impactful time of your life.  Not the time to “do nothing but spend your money” for sure.  This admonition assumes that you have some, money that is.  It is the time to be active like the presidential candidates mentioned above (regardless of what you think about their politics).  The last two stages of your life, after Active Application,  will be Consultative and the last last stage will be Reflective.

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Look up, look out and get going.

If you’ve not come to this realization yet now is the time for the bomb to go off in your head.  Look up, look out and begin preparing in earnest.  If you are already in one of those stages look up, look out and get going.  There is much to do and the “fields are white unto harvest”.

It is so encouraging that our significant meaning and purpose, the ones unique to us, are meant to inspire and encourage us for a lifetime, not just a season.  One of our staff at Envoy, when asked what he does, responds, 

“I inspire and empower people for a lifetime of ministry”.  

How cool is that?

 

I am both inspired and empowered knowing that my fourth quarter, what we call our time of Future Funded Ministry, actually starts now.  Join me, join us, as we prepare and carry out God’s plan for our lives to the very end.

 

In His Name and for His Glory,

Join me on this Future Funded Ministry Journey.

- Bruce

Your Work

John Calvin believed that work is as much a part of worship as giving.  In the Christian community we talk about work as worship, work as ministry and work as stewardship.

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We often think of the work that we are required to do in order to earn a living.  We then separate that work from our spiritual life and role as one of God’s stewards.  Stewards of what?  Well, steward of everything is the most inclusive definition.  Stewardship requires work, yours and mine.  So work is so much more than expending the time and energy to "earn a living". 

Not only do we work, but our work is a reflection of the nature of God.  We are made in God’s image and we know that He worked to create the world and works today in our daily lives.

Let's take an even closer look at "work".  It is comforting to know that each of us are both chosen to be a friend of God’s and called to roles in His Kingdom.  There are  general roles  for all and then specific roles for each of us in His kingdom.  To put it another way, God is at work in both of those areas, choosing and calling, being chosen and being called.  First we have to respond to the "choosing" with a step of faith.  After that, we  go to work and carry out the "calling."  So both God and His creation, you and me, are in fact working together. 

 While we are in the process of working at our calling, God is also at work in our circumstances.  He prepares us, strengthens and upholds us.  This is how He enables us to carry out our stewardship mission.  How comforting is that?  We are not alone.  We have His wisdom and power to support, strengthen and uphold us.  It sure makes a difference in those tough circumstances and difficult situations…. you know, the ones that totally get you down.

Nothing gets done unless someone does something…. that something we call "work."  Work for which we are either already prepared or tasks we are working on that will in fact prepare us for what is next.  The next step in carrying out God’s call on our life. By the way, those next steps extend for a lifetime, not just a season. 

shutterstock_102146080.jpgSo here is the rub given our current culture's perspective of the last quarter of our life.... retirement.  The rub is that our culture embraces the perspective that at retirement we will stop working.  Stop working and focus only on satisfying ourselves.  In other words, we will do nothing but focus on our own desires and pleasures. 

  On the other end of the spectrum is the supposed Christian mantra that “I’m never going to retire”.  "I will never stop working".  The assumption that goes along with this life view, is that the work will provide an ongoing income too.  The back story is that this mantra presupposes never stopping earning. Work for pay becomes the lifetime annuity.  That is unrealistic for sure.  I just can’t envision hiking to the office at 90.

 So what is a God honoring perspective of work and of retirement? 

What you do in retirement, your work during retirement, is in fact your response to the opportunities God puts right in front of you and has uniquely prepared for you.

Pretty cool.  You are prepared by a lifetime of service to carry out a uniquely called mission extending not for a season, but for a lifetime.  This also presupposes that you have prepared financially for this strategic time of service. 

I take great comfort in knowing that regardless of my age or circumstance, God is at work preparing me for a lifetime of service…. service for a lifetime.  We will explore the three stages of retirement in another blog. The great comfort comes from knowing that there will always be meaning and purpose in my life fulfilling God’s call which always means “changed lives”.

All this is true if you are spiritually prepared and the results of your financial stewardship give you the freedom to respond to God's call. 

 Love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Work is a sacred activity and when done to His glory fulfills our mission to the world.

-Bruce

When Blank Pages Tell the Story

I recently received a gift from a close friend.  It was a bound book, it looked to be about 100 pages and it said Holy Bible on the cover.  When I opened it up all the pages were blank.  What is that all about?

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First I thought it was like a diary or notebook to write down Bible based reflections.  Then I thought it might have been a printing error.  Confusion set in.  All I could think about was the times in elementary school when the teacher would hand out blank pieces of paper and tell us to draw or write something.  Often my page and those of my classmates, were left blank at the end of the allotted time.  Blank pages told the story…. we had nothing to share, nothing to give and consequently, we did nothing.  We got a failing grade…. that was what happened.

Shortly after receiving the book with the blank pages I got a call from the friend who sent it to me.  He asked, “Did you get the book?”  With a questioning lilt to my voice I answered, “Sure did but I don’t get it?  What is it for?  It says Holy Bible on the front!”

He laughed and said, “I was just trying to make a point.  When God’s word is blank nothing happens.  When it is fully present amazing things happen.”  Breathing a sigh of relief, I agreed.

You see, my friend works for the Seed Company…. a Wycliffe associate.  They are committed to bringing the Bible to the 1778 people groups and languages that have no verses of scripture in their heart language.  They are, in fact, a subset of the 4500 people groups and languages that have only a part of the message that changes lives, gives life and informs our very being.

The blank pages tell the story.  As we talked I was reminded of the parallel between the blank pages in the book and the blank pages in our lives when it comes to engaging with the last quarter of our lives.  For so many, retirement is just a time of blank pages with a hope that there will be enough money to satisfy their own desires. 

Like the value that comes when those blank pages are filled with living words, so too the blank pages of the last three stages of our life need to be filled with vision and purpose.  When vision and purpose are real our lives are changed and those who we connect with, serve and or minister to have changed lives as well.

Living a life of blank pages without meaning or purpose are just that, blank.  No color HD, just white sheets of paper.  White sheets of paper waiting to be filled with meaning and purpose. Unfortunately, that vision, that connection with a fulfilled ministry for a lifetime, takes effort on our part.  Effort to even be willing to open the book and then the willingness to start filling the pages.

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When we end our life in God’s earthly kingdom and move on to the heavenly one, we will leave behind a book.  Will it be filled with life-giving experiences and impact or will it have lots of blank pages?  We choose.  Choose wisely.

As a help along the way let’s re-define retirement in line with a Godly perspective.  After all it is an extended time of ministry, it is in the future and it must be funded.  Future Funded Ministry is a way to re-define retirement that challenges us to fill in the blanks and live out the messages on those otherwise blank pages.

Let’s continue this journey, exploring life together.

Bruce Bruinsma

A Fourth Quarter Perspective and a Lifetime of Ministry

I just received an email from our Christian Leadership Alliance friends in Australia.  They are totally dedicated to helping their membership, and the Christian community at large, re-define retirement. 

They are approaching the issue from the angle of life’s “Fourth Quarter”.  I really like that.  They lead off their introduction to the issues this way:

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“Have you paused to consider that the fourth quarter of your life may be the culmination of everything for which God has been preparing you?”

Now that is a thought and conversation starter if ever I heard one.  "What is the fourth quarter of your life", you say?  That is the time from mid to late 60’s to the late 80’s and beyond.  The spearhead for this message, Gary Williams, is the National Director of Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd (incorporating Christian Management Australia).  They are so committed to addressing the need to re-define retirement for their members that they are bringing on a special staff member to give “boots on the ground” leadership to it.

As many of you know, the term Future Funded Ministry grew out of a pastor’s conference where I was speaking all the way back in 1994.  Since then God continues to incubate the idea in my mind.  All of the leadership and staff of Envoy Financial and the thousands who are  adopting this re-definition of retirement are actively following where it leads.

When God prompts a movement that  expands His Earthly Kingdom and impacts His Heavenly one, He will also provide the leadership, context and explosive growth of it.  I believe the time is now for the Future Funded Ministry movement to take shape, move forward and change lives.

With the notion that we are all “ministers” together, our greatest hope is in Christ Jesus and His plans for us that already exist.  Our preparation is now and in the past, and our impact in the future is compelling.  That impact may be tomorrow, next week, or next year.  Our service to the cause will extend for a lifetime…… all the way through the Fourth Quarter of our lives.

I am looking forward to connecting via Skype with Gary and his team this week.  I will also have the opportunity of  meeting them in person the following week at the Christian Leadership Alliance National Conference in Dallas.

shutterstock_322218581.jpgPlease pray with me and raise your hand if you are prompted to respond.  Pray for God’s blessing as we  in the U.S. and fellow believers around the world connect with a new perspective, a new vision of what it means to “minister for a lifetime”.  To minister in whatever capacity He calls us, wherever it leads us, fully prepared and without financial constraint.

 

Comment or call if prompted as God touches your heart, hands and mind about this “movement” that we call Future Funded Ministry…… a Fourth Quarter Calling.

 

Bruce Bruinsma

Trusted Advice along The Way.

A journey of a lifetime and for a lifetime.

 

Gary and his team are encouraged by the perspective and presentation of information about Future Funded Ministry to be found at www.FutureFundedMinistry.com

 

Context is Everything: Why Understanding is Crucial in Leadership

“I do not fear truth. I welcome it.  But I wish all of my facts to be in their proper context.” 

-Gordon B. Hinckley

Context is everything.

"I hear what you say, but I’m not sure I know what you mean."

I’ve been thinking about this fact during some recent discussions. Bringing clarity and perspective about any topic is important. When you are bringing clarity about your future it is critical. Preparing for a lifetime of ministry is a way to think about retirement. Within that retirement context, we call it Future-Funded Ministry. Within a management context we refer to it as metrics. Within the religious context we call it apologetics.

Understanding what is true and getting that truth into the right context makes all the difference in the world.

Recently I helped facilitate an RZIM conference on Understanding and Answering Islam. My goodness, as I’ve studied and been exposed to the history and current application of Islam to our world, context is everything. The context changes what and how you think about Jesus, priorities, and certainly relationships. Understanding Context in Leadership
When your perspective of “Retirement” is purely secular and reflects the common understanding, the focus is totally on you, your happiness and carefree lifestyle. When your context changes and your perspective is one of thankfulness to God plus a servants heart, your thoughts, actions, priorities and stewardship activity changes dramatically.

When you experience joy because of a changed relationship it impacts your life. If you can only experience guaranteed eternal joy through martyrdom, as seems to be true in Islam,   it changes the way you live, and die.

What does this mean to you as a leader?

So what is the best way to go about gaining understanding and context?  “Understanding” of both macro and micro realities are preconditions to effective leadership. The macro, big picture, and micro, the details, shape  how you understand an issue, respond to an issue and decide on a course of action dealing with the issue.  These realities shape both your strategy and tactics as a leader.  The context leads to conclusion, every time!

Here are 3 things to Check Out Your “Understanding”

  1. Does your view of man and the world line up with the teachings of Jesus and the Bible? Here is the first test of reality, what is true.
  1. Do the activities you are measuring reflect  what is true: are your metrics accurate andrelevant? 
  1. Is your plan, your solution to the problem, extending over time,  actually achievable: does your infrastructure support   the solution or the  vision?

I urge you to think through each of these points. They are all critical in their own way. When taken as one approach, they make a powerful structure upon which to build your leadership style plus your specific strategic and tactical plan.

Here is another way to say it:

Is it true?

Is it measurable?

Is it doable?

Again, as we are early in the year, these are simple but effective questions to ask before the calendar tells you the year is already half over.

Final Thoughts

Putting facts in their proper place during election time is really frustrating. It seems like every candidate gets a pass on the facts and revels in the exposition of the dramatic. Unfortunately, while you can campaign that way, you cannot lead that way. The world is much too dangerous and our world is much too complicated.

When all is over, Praise God.

Traveling together with Trusted Advice along The Way.

Bruce Bruinsma

Unique Insights and Time Saving Decisions

My grandfather once asked me, “Bruce, why is experience the best teacher?” When I look befuddled and said, “I have no idea”, he responded, “Because it is the most expensive!”  Wow, what a clear insight into reality, how things really work.

If experience is the best teacher, and the most expensive, are there any shortcuts that can take us to “a better place” more efficiently and effectively. Let’s explore a sampling of the options.

Learning from others

The alternative to learning from our own painful and expensive experiences is learning from others.

Some of the ways we learn from others include:

  1. Professional Journals
  2. Conferences and webinars
  3. Classes and courses of professional study
  4. The experience of others

shutterstock_304967867.jpgOne of the important ways we learn from others is digesting the aggregated information collected from peers about any given subject.

One useful  way  information is gathered and digested is through surveys.

Most of us are deluged with survey questions. It is important that we set some criteria for which survey we will answer, and which ones we won’t.

Here is a list of criteria for you to consider: 

 

  1. Is it timely?  We are all busy and sometimes we can prioritize, make the time available, the time, and sometimes we can’t. Simply acknowledging that reality is helpful.
  2. Is it relevant?  Does the topic and content of the survey fit into a subject category that ties in with either my responsibilities and/or my priorities?
  3. Are the results important?  Will the results of the survey inform me in a way that will be helpful either professionally or personally?

If the answers to all three questions are “yes”, then participate. If not, “Pass”

 

An example of a survey for you to consider

The Faith Based Retirement Plan Survey that Envoy administers in conjunction with Christian Leadership Alliance is a good example. The survey is conducted with Leaders of Christian ministries, and it’s focus is on the executives that are responsible for the ministries retirement plan, or would be if they had one.

Further, it’s goal is to accumulate relevant information from both small and large mission sending, church and faith based non-profit organizations or ministries, about their retirement plan. What information or perspective  is important to them, how it works, and what challenges exist within their plans? At the same time, to collect relevant information about the needs and decision making process within other mission sending, church, or faith based non-profit organizations or ministries that do not have a retirement plan at all.

 

Applying the 3 criteria to the example

  1. Is it timely? If you are either a retirement plan administrator or have some oversight responsibility for your plan, or a member of an organization that thinks you need a plan, you will make time to answer a 12-minute survey on these topics. If not, you won’t.
  2. Is it relevant? Clearly if your ministry responsibility includes benefits or the finances associated with them, you will answer yes. This includes the key members of an executive team, down to the pastor or administrator of a very small ministry. It is relevant. You will participate in the survey and look forward to learning the results.
  3. Are the results important? Knowing what others are doing provides a benchmark to evaluate and help define best practices as you consider implementin a new retirement plan. It also provides a gauge to measure what you are currently doing.

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This example is fortunately a real one. Use it as a prompt for yourself. Can or do you answer all three questions in the affirmative? If so, you should participate in the Faith Based Retirement Plan Survey now. Here is a link to take the 12-minute survey, be enrolled in the $300 drawing, and then receive an Executive Summary of the results at no cost. Click Here!

Keep in mind the three criterias the next time you are asked to take a survey:

Is it timely?

Is it relevant?

And are the results important?

You can get helpful, time saving information from surveys. You can also waste time if they don’t fit the criteria. The unique insights are an important way to leapfrog the pain of your personal experience. Applying the criteria is a way to save time.

By the way, the results of the last two Retirement Plan Surveys may be of help too!

So, happy learning from the experiences of others.

- Bruce Bruinsma

 Again don't forget to participate in the Faith Based Retirement Plan Survey today!

The Plan Will Need to Change, Guaranteed!

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The only plan that is guaranteed to success is God’s plan for salvation. 

Other than that, we are naive to assume that our plans will proceed as outlined, never needing to be changed, and that success is guaranteed. How do I know: 35 years of experience plus lots of examples in history. 

A friend once opined, “Assumption is the lowest form of knowledge” I agree. Further, my grandfather, more than once, directed this question to me: “Bruce, why is experience the best teacher?”  “I don’t know.”  was my response. His never to be forgotten response was, “Because it is the most expensive.”  Some powerful insights that can save you a lot of pain and frustration.

Another good friend, Bob C., was the one who really brought to my attention the necessity for flexibility in planning. This is the required response to any plan when it “needs to change”.  As a military man, he put it this way, “One of the basic tenets of training military officers the art of war planning is that one should not assume than any plan will fully succeed once the battle starts.”  This starts to put hands and feet to the relevance of both “assuming” and the value of “experience”.

 Bob was kind enough to add some history to the observation.

"In military training, and may I add in life, we must prepare for the unexpected and yet be flexible enough to respond to whatever unforeseen tactics or circumstances the enemy may bring to the field of battle."

Ring any bells for you?  It sure does for me.

Let’s take a look at a couple of real life applications away from the military and connected to civilian life:

  1. Our individual spiritual journey is full of unexpected challenges. A long time ago, I thought I heard it said that the road would be smooth once I got my spiritual priorities right. Well, two things, we never get them “right” in the total sense, and if we did I’d be as big a part of the problem as anything outside of myself. In addition, the spiritual enemy makes a practice of confusing and trying to refute the best of spiritual plans. Flexibility and the ability to correct our course of action is then a practical and necessary mandate.
  2. Our financial journey is another one where the “best laid plans“ are almost guaranteed to require change. Our financial planning models suggest that we can know what to do, when to do it, and project what the results will be. While very reassuring the reality is quite different. It is always the uncontrollable variables that destroy a good plan. Interestingly, one of those uncontrolled variables is every investor, particularly the ones that respond to change by changing course regardless of the circumstance. This response is often simply driven by fear. Not a good emotion when being intentional is the valued operational goal.
  3. Our family journey is another one full of unexpected changes. My wife Judy is fond of saying or reflecting, that she was going to “get married and live happily overeater”. Talk about unexpected challenges and necessary changes.

Bob, with his Air Force background included a quote from an Italian airpower theorist, General Giulio Doubet: “Flexibility is the key to air power”. 

Now let me expand on that: Flexibility is the key to virtually every success. This is true whether we are talking about our spiritual journey, our financial journey, or our family journey. And then, success is still not guaranteed.

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On a relevant note, it is also true that following a set of success principals will inform your plan and guide the necessary and flexible response.

 As this article is pointed toward the financial journey, here is a key principal:

   “If you don’t get started saving, there will be none!”

Well, “sure” you say, “but you don’t know my circumstance?” Regardless, the principal is true.

Now then is the time to be flexible and adjust to the circumstance, and still start saving.

 Here is another one:

  “Saving tax deferred is better than just saving”

You ask, “What does that mean”. It means putting aside monies before you pay tax on it rather than afterwards. Just makes sense. You will save more because you save on taxes. Here is the challenge, make sure you are saving through a 403(b)(9) church plan if you can, next through a regular 403(b) plan, and finally though an IRA if the other options are not available. Here is another the challenge: Do Something! The next challenge: Do it in the best way. And here is the last “great idea”, be flexible enough to start and “win the battle” of funding your future ministry.

Bob’s lesson to me from his background is “no plan survives contact with the enemy”. For sure your best intentions to follow the two principals outlined above will not survive your first attempt, or maybe your second, or even your third. However, the battle will be lost if you do not embrace the challenge of being “flexible” and finding a way to impact your future, to “win the battle” and impact the world.

 Bob’s closing thought to me was this, “This lesson is not just isolated to military planners, but definitely a lesson for a wise man, or woman, to apply to life in our 21st century as well”.

 Well said, and thank you Bob.

Share your Trusted Advice as we journey with Trusted Advice along The Way.

Finding a New Way to Love as a Leader.

How do you keep your perspective? Is there a place for "love"?

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In these days of wars and rumors of wars, in these days of violence, atrocity and drive by shootings, beheadings and seemingly mindless rage, how does a leader keep perspective.  Balancing tension and diversity, growth and compassion, accountability and accessibility, message and metrics, vision and the reality is hard. When we are results focused, the relationship piece of the productivity puzzle is hard to maintain.  We pray for wisdom and carry on. 

Coming into the office this morning I heard the last few minutes of Jimmy Carter’s inaugural address, now so many years ago, 1977 to be exact.  While his ability to lead the country, many have questioned, there is no question about his commitment to God, those in need and desiring to do the “right thing” and in “the right way”. To represent Christian love in all his activities. 

 The verse from the Bible that he quoted was from Micah 6:8

“He has Shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

 

As leaders of Christian Ministries we have a similar challenge in front of us on a daily basis.  

I was wondering about the last stages of that “humble walk’ 

The period of time after the paycheck stops yet ministry of some sort, continues. How do we handle ourselves during the employed years and during the later, yet productive ones? That extended challenge has a complex context.  In another part of his 1200 word speech he said, “Ours was the first society openly to define itself in terms of both spirituality and of human liberty.”.  The juxtaposition of spirituality and human liberty as he described it, the juxtaposition of Spirituality and economic activity, business if you wish, is just one more piece in the complex puzzle of life.  Particularly perplexing for those last three stages of retirement. Deciphering that puzzle and then leading with new insight, is indeed a challenge. 

 

 How do we lead within this? This is both a personal challenge and a leadership one!

I will suggest that it is an act of love to address this issue of “ministry for a lifetime”. It is incumbent on us as leaders to convey new perspective, a long term ministry perspective.  Here is the heart of the matter: In our complex and demanding world, and with all the activities of life, how are we challenged to think about a lifetime of ministry, not just ministry for a time or season? How do we understand and integrate God’s lifetime of preparation for us, into a lifetime of ongoing service honoring Him? And then how do we encourage those we lead to do the same? 

 

How do we simplify?

Perhaps in order to simplify, we try to categorize, silo or box-up complex issues into distinct, unconnected sound bites.  We sometimes nod wisely about and issue while ducking the interconnectedness of our belief’s and values with life, business, financial and yes, political activity.  There seems to be a greater willingness by Republican presidential candidates to expound on how their faith impacts their lives.  Sadly, it has been so “politically incorrect” to do so for some time.

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Living it out

 Where the rubber meets the road for me personally, is at the intersection of a key stage of life, let’s call it retirement, and the future vision of God’s continued call on my life.  Where that “spirituality” and “boots on the ground reality” meet.  Or is it collide?  Or for so many, maybe it is ‘ignore” the connectedness altogether. Our next Faith Based Retirement Plan survey will ask some questions about this. 

 If, as leaders, we don’t address and come to grips with how to even think about the issue of “ministry for a lifetime”, how can we impact those we are charged with leading to deal with it either.  In graduate school I was first exposed to the idea of “opportunity cost”.  This is the identification and then measurement of what is lost by not taking a specific action.  Clearly if there is opportunity “lost”, there is also “opportunity gain”.  By not expanding our understanding of God’s preparation and our execution of “changed lives” strategies during the last 3 stages of life, lives will be wasted, lives not touched and the personal opportunity to hear “well done” will slip through our fingers.

Leading yourself, family, and ministry partners to embrace a whole new narrative about and embracing the idea of “ministry for a lifetime”, Future Funded Ministry, is an act of love and brings with it additional joy and peace. 

Opportunity Cost vs. Opportunity Gain

Do you look back in regret at the lost opportunities in your life?

So many live a life of regret.  They spend their productive hours ruminating on what could have been, what should have been, what might have been or the failure of what did occur.  Who do you know who fits that category?  Perhaps a friend, family member, staff or even occasionally you?

Job reflects on his birth this way: 

Job 3:5 (NLT)

Let the darkness and utter gloom claim that day for its own. 

Let a black cloud overshadow it, and let the darkness terrify it.

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Are you discouraged? Job certainly nailed the emotional component.

Perhaps not with the drama, but we all can identify with the emotion.  As leaders we come face to face with discouragement. How often? if leading, then often in some part of each day.

In addition to discouragement, there is simply the issue that “stuff happens”.  Plans go awry.  Sometimes it is because of poor planning, sometimes it’s poor execution, and sometimes outside, unexpected realities totally destroy the best of plans. 

 Whether it be a personal issue or response to one, or a ministry/business issue or response to one, each and every activity has an outcome. There is a gain or loss, moving forward or backwards, there is a net result of all our plans, actions, and implementation strategies. 

Peter Drucker said: "Yesterday's actions and decisions, no matter how courageous or wise they may have been, inevitably become todays problems, crises and stupidities." 

Now there is a reality we can all identify with!

The opportunity lost I'm discovering, is the amount of productive time that "retiree's" could provide to ministries. While many do, most Christian workers, ministry minded leaders, and business oriented Christians, do not even begin to think about ministry in their retirement years until after they retire. Let's examine the reality of lost opportunity and the potential for gain

 

The definition of OPPORTUNITY COST IS:

The loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. 

 

We know that each choice has consequences. The idea of Opportunity Cost allows us to measure that cost. 

Conversely, the idea of Opportunity Gain, allows us to measure the incremental gain for a decision, choice, and course of action. 

 

How big is the opportunity for gain in the Kingdom?

Because of our longevity, a tremendous opportunity exists for the Kingdom.  When understood and acted upon aggressively, the size of the Gained Opportunity is huge. When not understood, or addressed, the size of the Lost Opportunity is monumental.

 

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 Here it is: 

  • 20% of the population equaling about 50,000,000 will be “elderly” by 2030.
  • If we even take a decade, a 10 year period, and calculate a number equal to “availability” of productive time, the number is more than huge.

Let me try to figure it out:  You can argue with the numbers but you’ll see the point.

  1. 12 hours per week of productive time
  2. 52 weeks in a year = 624 hours
  3. 624 divided by 8 hours per day = 78 days a year
  4. 78 day x 50,000,000 people = 3,900,000,000 days per year
  5. Times 10 years equals  39,000,000,000 day of opportunity lost
  6. That equals over 106,000,000 years.

If your ministry had additional productive input equal to 500 hours a month.  How would you manage it and what would be the impact for the Kingdom?  Let's think about this some more and address it in future times together. 

 

This is just a small example and only takes a 10 year period.

The ramifications and implications are “gigantic” for the Kingdom!

The Big 6 for Retirement Plan sponsors in 2016: What You Need to Know

What Do Plan Sponsors Need to Know in 2016?

1.  Giving your plan ‘TOP OF THE PAGE' visibility is more important than ever this year.  Your staff is getting older, even the millennial generation thinks it is important. Your Board will ask you about it and your staff will thank you. Check to see if it is easy for your staff to go online, enroll, or check their account balances. If not, consider changing vendors.Retirement Plan Sponsor

2.  Taxes are on everybody's mind early in the year. Remind your staff that their contributions save on  taxes now, as well money saving money for their future.

3.  Review the flexibility built into your plan. If you are a church make sure those with ministerial status are aware of the FICA savings and the use of tax-free distribution when utilizing the housing allowance feature.

4.  There are the lowest individual investment costs when you have ETF’s on the menu. Are you using them?

5.  Education is a hot topic this year, and will be for years to come. IRS is focused on education, not just information for participants. Check to see how your plan stacks up.

6.  All the “how to” of saving, investing, and money management won’t even hit your    participants radar if the “why” to do it  isn’t strongly supported. I Suggest you connect them with this portal: futurefundedministry.com  so they can discover the“why” of retirement savings and preparation.

We will talk more about these in the coming months.

Trusted Advice along the way.

Bruce