Summary: This is week three in our yearly stewardship series, this week focusing on why we should give up worry in favor of trust.

Don’t Worry about Money

How many folks out there were born after 1958? So what do you think of the change in the Old Age Security age? If you missed the last budget the age for eligibility has changed for the Canadian Old Age Security from 65 to 67 and I would suspect that is only the beginning. And it really doesn’t affect how I was thinking about retirement because my plan has been to continue pastoring until I’m seventy. All things being equal. But for some people it is a concern, they have been anxiously awaiting the day they turned 65 and could begin drawing that enormous amount the government has been promising them.

A little history lesson here, the first public pension plan in Canada was put into place in 1927 and it basically required the federal government to share the cost of provincially run, means-tested old age benefits.

The plan as we know it was introduced in 1952 and allowed people to retire with some benefits when they turned 70. In 1965 legislation was passed that reduced the eligibility age to 65, phased in over a five year period.

We are planning on going to the SaltScapes Expo next week and if it is like the other years it will be full of different tourist destinations in the Maritimes, food exhibits, and retirement service people. Interesting.

And at first you would be tempted to think that is simply related to the demographics of those who read SaltScapes, but it’s not just the SaltScapes Expo. If you go to the boat show they are there too. Not the tourist and food exhibits but the retirement people. And if you go to the home show or you go to the RV show there they are. Walk down the mall and there they and everyone talks about their RRSP’s and when they plan to retire, the freedom 55 or 60. Angela and I are on the freedom 85 plan. Figure if we can retire at 85 and die at 90 we should be all right.

I was recently reading that it was in the 1950’s that western society achieved a standard of living that had never before been seen in history. We had come to a place where the average person was no longer living day to day or a hand to mouth existence. All of a sudden the average family had discretionary income, the opportunity to buy what to that point had been considered luxury items and to save for retirement.

Today we have stepped even beyond simply saving for retirement to the point that we are not content with being able to retire to a life of ease we want to be able to enjoy all the facets of life that escaped us during our years of employment.

And it is a concern for folks that they may not be able to have that lifestyle when they eventually retire. And certainly I have seen examples in the past of people who sacrificed things in order to have lots in place for tomorrow only to have tomorrow arrive without them.

We want to go from being Yuppies to being WOOFs (Well Off Older Folks). And so there is a whole new industry that has sprung up so that we can invest now for that day down the road when we no longer have to work, whether that day comes when we are 55, 65 or 85.

If you live in Canada when you retire you may have to worry about whether you can have full cable or basic cable, you might worry about whether you will be able to travel, you may have to worry about whether you live in a nice neighborhood or a sketchy neighbourhood, you might even have to worry about whether you buy Kraft dinner or the no name mac and cheese but you will not starve to death or have to go naked.

I have delivered groceries to people who told me that their children had nothing to eat and when I got there they were watching cable and the apartment smelled of cigarette smoke, indicating that there were apparently choices that had already been made that precluded buying food, but that’s not the same as not having food to eat.

If tomorrow Angela and I were unable to work, we would eventually have to sell our home and sell our cars, we might lose everything we own. We might lose our lifestyle but in Canada in 2012 we would not lose our lives.

For the vast majority of those of us who live in Canada today the concept of worrying about what we will eat or what we will wear is radically different then it was when these words were spoken. Today we worry about what our choices will be, will I have chicken or will I have beef? Will I wear the red top or will I wear the blue top? Which pair of shoes will I wear today? Will it be Tims or McDonalds for lunch.

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