A pastor gave this advice about retirement: “Don’t simply retire from something; have something to retire to.” It is important to have a plan for life after retirement. Retirement can be a wonderful time to generously give of one’s time, talents and treasures. Here are some things to consider as you head into retirement.
1. Have an estate plan. By taking the time and effort necessary to plan your estate you will be able to provide for your family, transfer your assets to beneficiaries easily, plan for incapacity, choose personal representatives for your estate, support a worthy ministry or charity and reduce taxes on your estate. An estate plan begins with a will or living trust. An estate plan allows you the process by which you can pass your assets and property to those you want to have them. If you don’t have an estate plan, the State of Missouri has one for you and you probably won’t like it. Once you have an estate plan, review it annually to make sure it reflects your wishes. The best benefit of an estate plan is the sense of peace and order it brings to your retirement living.
2. Have a plan to be generous with your time and talents. It is important to have a plan to give your time and personal giftedness for the benefit of others. Being a volunteer positively impacts you and those who receive your help. A report by the Corporation for National & Community Service established a strong relationship between volunteering and health. The report says that those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. Teaching and mentoring are wise investments of your wisdom and life experience. In Eugene Peterson’s The Message he translates Luke 6:38 this way: “Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”
3. Have a plan to be generous with your treasures. Generosity is a life-time journey, so it is important to have a plan to give from what God has given and allowed you to earn. Finding the best way to be generous with your treasures should include help from professionals (attorneys, accountants, certified financial planners, insurance agents and estate planning professionals) who bring expertise to estate planning and charitable giving. The number of ways you might give is numerous so your generosity can be very creative.
One of the easier charitable gifts to arrange is a charitable distribution from qualified retirement funds. This can be accomplished through a beneficiary designation. Changes can be made easily through a beneficiary form provided from the custodian (investment manager) of your retirement account. It is not irrevocable so your beneficiary designation can be changed should your life situation prompt a desire for different plans. Gifts given to ministry/charity from qualified retirement accounts can be arranged to avoid income and estate taxation.
A Charitable IRA Rollover is a simple and easy way to use an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to help support a ministry and fulfill its mission during your lifetime. If you are 70½ years of age or older you can make a charitable rollover gift of up to $100,000 from your IRA. Your gift will qualify for your required minimum distribution and you will not have to pay federal income tax on the amount rolled over from your IRA to ministry. Your local church can be designated to receive this type of gift.
Don’t simply retire. Have something to retire to through the generous gift of your time, talents and treasures. What retirement plans is the Lord placing in your heart?