Nancy and I are spending this Labor Day weekend with some long-time friends in Niagara Falls, Ontario. They have been thinking about their next season of life and invited us here to process with them.
Even though we are using the term “retirement,” it probably means something different to us than it does in general use. For the four of us, retirement means we have achieved independence in a number of areas which give us a new set of options regarding how and where we live the rest of our lives. For example:
- Nancy and I no longer have any biological children living in our home. Our Ghanaian “daughter” is still with us but will probably leave within the next year. Our friends have a ten year old daughter who we expect will be with them another eight years or so.
- Nancy and I do not have organizational ties that require us to be in a certain location. We can fulfill our Anda Leadership and Kidzana responsibilities from just about anywhere. Our friends are responsible for their medical practice.
- If things go according to our plan, Nancy and I could have significant financial flexibility (financial independence) in ten to 15 years. Our friends could be financially set for life within a couple years.
- Currently, we are all healthy, but we are aware that will not last. We don’t want to become burdens for our children.
We agree that “retirement” does not mean “unfocused.” We believe that the flexibility retirement offers provides us new opportunities to serve Christ and build his Kingdom. We are asking, “What is God doing in the world today and how can we best plug into that during the final season of our lives?”
We recognize the importance of community. Our friends are particularly sensitive to this issue and they are attempting to build a community now that will help make their retirement years effective. We also have options regarding where we live. Should we stay were we are to continue in ministry and relationships there? Move to a warmer climate? Become snow-birds? Move to Africa or somewhere else?
Have you thought about retirement? What have you concluded? Do you have any advice for us as we think and plan?