You will not find pastor on the Forbes list of best-paid professions. It’s just a fact of life that as much as they want to, many churches struggle to provide ministers with adequate pay and health insurance. This means most ministers struggle to save enough for retirement, and many ministers feel they can never retire. A 2016 Grey Matter Research poll on pastoral finances reported that one-third of pastors have less than $10,000 put away for retirement.
Whether or not you ever want to stop working, it is important to plan for retirement, and the best step to take is to begin now to save money while you are working. Of course, the biggest battle for most of us is creating margin in our personal budget to save something for the future. If you can start to actually save though, even if it’s a small amount, you will have taken that first difficult yet crucial step toward being more financially ready for retirement.
The IPHC provides a 403(b) retirement savings plan for its ministers that will allow your money to grow over time, and legally avoid taxation. This plan is great because you can save up to $19,500 per year from your salary (more if you’re over 50), before paying taxes on it. One of the best benefits of the IPHC 403(b) is that it qualifies for the housing allowance in retirement. That means withdrawals from your plan balance can be tax-free in retirement if you use them for qualified housing expenses.
The Scripture is clear that saving for the future is wise (Proverbs 6:6-8; 21:20). As we save, the goal is not self-sufficiency, since our dependence is always on God. The goal is to exercise Godly wisdom in providing for our needs in future years and having enough to continue to give generously to others.
The IPHC now offers some new retirement options for IPHC ministers. To find out more about the IPHC 403(b) retirement plan or enroll in the plan, visit iphc.org/retirement. There, you can watch a short introduction to the plan featuring Bishop Doug Beacham and IPHC CFO Brenda Phillips.
Darrell Cox is Lead Pastor at Trinity Worship Center in Burlington, NC. He also serves as Treasurer for the Cornerstone Conference (NC) of the IPHC.