People have been turning to the Bible for advice for thousands of years. What Does the Bible Say About Retirement? While the Bible does have a lot of life’s most important lessons covered, which retirement investments to save for the golden years are absent. Individual Retirement Accounts or IRAs and 401Ks aren’t featured in any chapters and there is no Bible Cliff Notes version on retirement,
but the Bible has plenty to say about work ethic, stewardship and saving, and trust in Him in which we can infer His intentions on retirement.
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The Bible on Work:
From the very first chapter in the Bible, God tells us that work is good. The Lord encourages us to work hard in His name. Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” God wants us to work hard and care for ourselves and our families and he encourages us to be successful while keeping our eyes trained on Him. The Lord does tell us that work is good, but does that mean retirement is bad? It’s complicated.
The only specific mention in the Bible of retirement is that in Numbers 8:24-26:
“This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.”
Aside from the fact that the Lord acknowledges that there is a time when we will phase-out of the working world and into a more passive role, there is not a lot of information about retirement in this passage alone.
Still, the Bible throughout the chapters explicitly tells us that there should be a time of rest. Obviously, the Lord means Sabbath, but there are several Biblical interpretations that the Lord also means retirement. Just as the Lord tells the Israelites in Exodus 16 to prepare for the Sabbath by collecting Manna on Fridays, we can interpret that to mean that the Lord knows there will be a time of rest in our lives. That rest most certainly refers to the seventh day of rest, or Sabbath, as outlined in Genesis, but it could also mean a time when humans walk away from work to retire or to allow the younger generations to carry on the regular service requirements.
Saving and Preparing for the Future:
We know that God wants us to rest. But, just as he wants us to trust in Him and have our eyes set on Him in our work, he wants us to rely on Him about our Future too.
There are many examples in the Bible of people saving for the future. The Lord has no qualms about us saving for a time of famine. He simply wants us to save knowing that our fruitfulness and success come not only from our hard work but also from His mercy. He does not want us to save out of fear or greed, but instead out of preparation for the future.
Are the examples of saving in the Bible people putting money into 401Ks and IRAs? No, but there is certainly a likeness between ants harvesting in the Spring to prepare for the Winter and people working during their lives to prepare for a time when they will no longer work (Proverbs 6:6-8). The Lord goes on to say in Proverbs 21:5 that “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”
Knowing that the Bible supports retirement and saving, we are still left without a roadmap to doing so within the confines of what the Lord wants us to do.
Gold and Silver in the Bible:
The term “gold standard” did not originate in the Bible, but the regard that is shown for precious metals gold and silver in the Bible makes it seems like it could have. Ezekiel 28:4 says “By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries.” The Lord alone created the Earth and all of nature. Therefore, gold and silver are of God, whereas paper money is a man-made construct. The Bible does not once mention paper currency. Gold and silver are the only assets of value.
Are there ways to invest in today’s society in precious metals like gold and silver without having to dig a hole in the backyard or store gold bricks under your mattress? Absolutely, there are.
Gold and Silver IRAs:
Just as the Bible tells us that gold and silver are the only monetary systems of any true value, there are many people today who share the sentiment that the man-made construct of money and the US dollar are collapsing. It’s not just Christians who understand the importance of gold and silver in the Biblical sense who are turning to gold and silver to secure their future.
Not all Individual Retirement Accounts or IRAs allow for precious metal investing as they focus on paper investments exclusively. However, there are both gold and silver IRAs out there that allow you to take the money you choose to set aside for retirement and purchase precious metals with it. Some might say that these IRAs allow you to literally turn your nest egg into gold.
Aside from the fact that the Bible supports gold and silver savings, there are lots of reasons to invest in precious metals. Gold and silver both provide hedges against inflation. As dollars become less and less valuable, gold and silver become more valuable. More dollars in circulation and less precious metals available mean that the scales of supply and demand are tipping.
All gold and silver IRAs are not equal. Only self-directed IRAs are allowed to invest in gold and silver. Self-directed IRAs allow the customer to make the decisions about which investments they would like in their IRA and provide a much wider range of products than IRAs without the self-directed designation.
Though precious metal prices tend to be less volatile than the stock market, gold and silver investments are still investments and have associated risks. Anyone interested in using gold and silver IRAs to save for retirement in line with their religious beliefs still needs to take time to research options and find a trustworthy custodian.
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Retirement and the Bible:
The Lord does not expect us to work until we die. He simply asks us to work hard and prepare for our rest responsibly and without placing faith in false idols.
Fear, money, and greed are all false idols that we are warned against. Retirement savings and future preparations should not be done out of greed or fear for the future. The Lord will provide for us if we have worked Hard as is pleasing to Him.
He wants us to work hard during the Harvest to prepare for winter. We can assume that he wants us to work hard during our working years to prepare for retirement.
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I hope you found this short post about what the bible say about retirement and that it does make sense to you. Please share your own thoughs on this topic in the comment section below as it might be helpful for others. Also, if you got any questions about this I would be more than happy to answer them below!
I wish you the best!
Michael, founder of Gold Retired