Guest editorial: Provide retirement benefits for church staff members

(Photo: hjalmeida / Bigstock)

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Many churches are drafting their 2017 budgets now, and I wish they would consider including retirement benefits for their staff members. Too many of our ministers retire with too little to live on, or they become disabled and have no help. As a retiree, I have a special interest in this.

 GuideStone Financial Resources’ retirement plans are among the best available anywhere. However, some churches, pastors and staff members think they can’t afford to invest money each month, but they really cannot afford not to do it.

With a minimum investment each month, a church can start a retirement program for a staff member. In addition to helping their staff members one day retire with dignity, the Church Retirement Plan also would provide the protection of a disability benefit of up to $500 per month and a survivor benefit of up to $100,000 for eligible participants.

I was blessed to serve churches that contributed 10 percent or more to my retirement plan. As churches plan their budgets for 2017, I encourage them to include retirement contributions for all full-time employees. Also, the state convention will provide a matching contribution of up $17.50 per month to eligible participants.

GuideStone offers retirement plan participants 27 choices from which to invest their contributions. The MyDestination Funds are tied to a specific date, adjusting the annuitant’s asset allocation as he or she moves to and through retirement. When it comes time to retire, GuideStone offers a variety of ways to take retirement distributions, including a life income annuity, systematic withdrawal, single sum, or a combination of benefits. Ministers like me can take a tax-free ministers’ housing allowance from their retirement benefits.

Sadly, some of our Baptist churches do not participate in this wonderful plan through GuideStone. I’ve seen many who think “I can do it on my own” never get it done and end up struggling in their retirement years.

I would encourage any church or minister to take advantage of this plan.

GuideStone now allows me to enjoy my retirement years and to have the resources I need to continue to minister without having depend on a salary.

Ed Spivey is a retired Texas Baptist minister who now lives in Allen.

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