(Unsplash/Niels Steeman)

If you want to retire at age 67 with as much income as you had from working, experts have moved the goalpost a little further out.

That's right. Because of the low rates of return in the current economy, a major financial firm has increased the target savings from eight times earnings to 10 times by age 67. Interim targets include one times annual salary at age 30, two times by age 35 and three times by age 40. Obviously, many people are failing to achieve these targets. However, these goals, while ambitious, are achievable with an early start, a constant savings habit (We recommend 10 percent), and the long-term effects of compounded investment yield.

Then again, perhaps the idea of retiring at age 67 is just not good for you. So says Warren Buffet, who says that working past retirement age keeps you sharp, lets you benefit from your years of experience, and gives you a buffer in a down stock market. In fact, the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 25 percent of workers will be over age 55 by 2020. If you start late in life, say at age 40, you could still save 10 percent of your income for 30 years which, when invested in a historical market average of 6 percent yield, would produce an income stream equal to 70 percent of wages.

Christians should take note of the fact retirement from work is not a biblical concept. We are encouraged to save for the future (Proverbs 6:6-8) so that we may have all we need to be rich in every way and be a blessing to others (2 Cor. 9:8-11).

Even so, savings is a critical component of your family's plan for financial freedom. Sadly, many people fail to save because they are too focused on their debt. You must be saving even while in debt, just as our role model Abraham Lincoln did. He suffered a financial reverse in 1837 but bought a house with his savings in 1844 before paying his debt in 1848. Like Abraham Lincoln, you should build your life before you pay your debt. Yet we find that many seniors are carrying large debt burdens because they did not develop a debt relief plan when they were younger.

Don't let your creditors take your financial future. Remember, saving is still the key to financial freedom.

Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.

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