Monday 18 June 2012
DOES FINANCIAL PLANNING NEGATE FAITH?
Financially speaking, is it wrong to plan for our retirement since we are supposed to live by faith?
The government’s intention to raise the retirement age in the private sector to 60 is in line with longer life expectancy in Malaysia. *
Some welcome this move as it would mean they will be in a better position to settle their mortgage, fund their children’s education as well as build their retirement nest egg.
The upside that people are living longer with better medical care has to be balanced with the fact that staying alive is expensive. Recently, my mother was hospitalised for a fall in a private hospital and the bill came up to RM 20,000.
How do retirees continue to live for the next 15 to 20 years or so without a regular source of income, given that the cost of living is constantly escalating? In fact, private hospital bills have been increasing by at least 10% every year.
Undeniably, the blessing of long life – and more opportunities to serve God – comes with added responsibility and burden. It means we have to give financial planning for our retirement serious thought if we have not done so as yet.
Some say planning implies we have little faith. Since God cares for us as He would care for the birds and the lilies, we should just concentrate on seeking and serving Him (Matthew 6:25-33).
Others become obsessed with financial planning for retirement. They save and scrimp so much that they become niggardly towards God’s work and often exclude themselves from social functions.
How do we balance these two extreme viewpoints — faith and planning?
Isn’t God’s planning evident in His creation and the instructions He gave for the building of the ark, and the tabernacle and temple of Jerusalem?
Likewise, we need to plan. But we must first acknowledge God as the source of wisdom; we may plan but it is God who directs our steps (Proverbs 3:5,6).
The industrious ant forages for food in summer so that it will have sustenance during winter (Proverbs 6:6-11).
Similarly, Joseph had the foresight to plan. And his family and a nation were saved when famine came (Genesis 41:35,36).
Lack of planning may cause us to outlive our finances. We may then have to depend on handouts from relatives or friends. We may even have to come out of retirement and go back to work but will our health permit it? How can we avert this potentially dangerous financial time bomb?
The above has been adapted from Talking Ringgit and Sense Before You Retire: