Planning for retirement in your sending country

PlannerWhen planning for retirement, it is impossible to start too soon.  Many people will leave it till their final working years, but in order to do it best some aspects of it such as pensions and housing will best be started decades ahead of retirement.

How will I fund my retirement?  As a form of saving, pensions make a lot of sense.  Started early enough, a small monthly contribution topped up by the government’s tax rebate can grow into a significant retirement fund.  Paying regular National Insurance Contributions to ensure your full entitlement to UK state pension, and if possible paying into a personal pension plan as well, will ensure some level of funding available to you in your retirement.  Many of us will not have much, but it may be topped up by the ongoing financial giving of our supporters.

It is important to make these arrangements sooner rather than later, and we recommend finding a competent Independent Financial Advisor to help you grapple with the many confusing aspects of finance.  A list of appropriate advisors is available on the Oscar website and a very helpful guide is available from Stewardship.

Where will I live?  Myles Wilson, author of the immensely helpful book Funding the Family Business, says that the most sensible thing any mission worker can do before going abroad is to buy a house in their sending country.  In that way, the rent you receive can pay off the mortgage, and after 25 years you can come back to a free home!   However, it is becoming increasingly hard to get a mortgage when you live abroad or don’t have a significant income.  Kingdom Bank may be more sympathetic to mission workers than other banks.  Letting out your house can also be problematic and we recommend you read our briefing paper before making any decisions.

Obviously, this takes a lot of planning ahead too, and many of us will have started thinking about retirement too late to do this.  For us, we may find somewhere to rent, or if we have children with enough money, we could persuade them to buy a home for us.  Church may be able to help us.

Other solutions are provided by Whitefield Christian Trust, which helps retired mission workers by buying homes for them to live in, and retirement homes for mission workers run by Pilgrim’s Friend Society and Gainsborough House (contact us on info@syzygy.org.uk for information).  Several Scottish mission workers move to Auchlochan Retirement Village.

How do I know what to think about?  Practical advice on preparing for retirement can be found on the Oscar website.  Online courses are available from Talking Retirement, and books are widely available on the internet, both on preparing for and thriving in retirement.  We particularly recommend The Highway Code for Retirement, by David Winter (CWR).  Organisations such as Age UK and Saga specialise in providing information and resources.  And as a shortcut you can use our checklist of 101 Things to do About Retiring.  Many agencies run their own preparatory workshops – if yours doesn’t, ask them to start!  On a more reflective level, Penhurst Retreat Centre offer retreats for people in or preparing for retirement.

In all these things, whether it’s housing, finance, personal preparation or getting ready to leave – the key is to think about the issues well ahead of time and give yourself plenty of time to adapt.

Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.

(Luke 19:29)