What your retirement planner doesn't tell you by ProQuest


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									                                    ‘Well Enough’

     What your
retirement planner
  doe n’t tell you
             Save in order to give your life away, not to retire comfortably

                                   By Lynn Miller

                                                 n the movie Out of Africa the lead character,
                                                 Baroness Blixen, returns to Africa from a visit to
                                                 Denmark. Her Muslim servant, Farah, meets her
                                           at the train station. Upon seeing her, he asks, “Are you
                                           well, Msabu?” She replies, “I am well, Farah.” She then
                                           asks him, “And you, Farah, are you well?” Farah replies,
                                           “I am well enough, Msabu.”
                                              I am well enough. What an amazing statement of
There is no end to what you                contentment. And in our time, how rare.
  can do when you decide                      Periodically, business magazines run “comparative
                                           salary surveys” describing what people in various jobs
 that your life is a first-fruit           are paid on average. The implied question for readers is,
 offering of God for a world               “Are you paid well?” What a great response it would be
                                           to say, “I am paid well enough.”
  that needs to know him.                     Wouldn’t it be healthy to be able to answer the ques-
                                           tion, “How big is your house?” with, “It is big enough”?
                                           Or your TV, “The screen is large enough.” Or your
                                           church’s membership, “Our church is big enough!”
                                              Contentment in life is a biblical goal. The apostle Paul
                                           said he had “learned to be content whatever the circum-
                                           stances” (Philippians 4:11, NIV). And the Letter to the
                                           Hebrews encouraged its readers to keep their “lives free
                                           from the love of money and be content with what you
                                                                                        Canadian Mennonite May 25, 2009                      5

have” (Hebrews 13:5).                            comfortably in a retirement community        about when I think of retirement.
   Contentment is indeed a biblical goal,        in a warm climate.                              In 1985, a doctor friend of mine, who
but not everyone sees it in terms of hav-           This kind of thinking suggests that       was then 55 years old, told me that in
ing enough. Certainly the commercial             comfort has become a synonym for con-        five years he was going to do something
world doesn’t. “Now 15 percent larger,”          tentment and a benchmark in financial-       different with his life. Actually, it took
screams the streamer at the top of the           planning calculations. Comfort seems         him six, but in 1991 he and his wife went
cereal box. Have you ever seen a product         to be measured by the ability to eat out     to Calcutta to serve as a mission agency’s
advertised as being “good enough” or             once or twice a day, hire someone else to    country representatives. They planned to
“large enough”?                                  do housecleaning, and fill the hours that    stay three years, but didn’t come home
   No business sector is more affected by        used to be taken up by productive work       for six years. And they didn’t come home
the drive to “get more” than the financial-      with recreation. Eating out and playing      permanently. Now there is an offering of
planning industry. Just read the adver-          golf are not wrong—or even unproduc-         a life that has multiplied in its ability to
tisements for mutual funds: “Higher              tive (I enjoy both myself). But in my late   give 
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