What Are Your Thoughts on Preparing for the Future Financially?

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

What are your thoughts on saving for retirement, life insurance, and other kinds of preparing for the future financially?

It seems to me that it's impossible to live one hour at a time: "I make my money for this hour, and I buy my bread and I eat it for this hour. I don't store up any money for 6 o'clock tonight." You can see where that's going. What about tomorrow? What about the next day?

I get paid once every two weeks, and I presume that's OK with the Lord to be paid once every two weeks instead of daily, even though it means that I have to save some of that to buy my food ten days from now. It's not unbelief on my part to keep some money in the bank so that ten days from now I will be able to buy food, rather than spending or giving away all of my money on my payday and then trusting God that ten days from now he will cause there to be an envelope in the mail with just enough money to go out and buy a hamburger that afternoon. He doesn't want us to live that way.

The New Testament is clear that we should let the thief no longer steal, but let him labor with his hands that he may have to give to him who is in need and not to be dependent on anybody else (Ephesians 4:28). And so we should earn a living and pay.

Now the question is: What about a year from now, or two years, or ten years? What about retirement?

In our country retirement is pressed on us, especially in some vocations. If you're working in a factory you're going to be out at 65, probably, and what will you do? So I think that structurally our culture requires that you need to plan for retirement. I don't think that's a bad thing.

I don't think putting away money so that you can live a modest lifestyle in retirement is bad. And I don't think it's wrong to have a measure of life insurance so that, if you die, whoever you're responsible for will be taken care of.

The way we thought about it when our children were little is, "I think Noël would be able to work after the children are in school, for that amount of time. While they're little and at home I wouldn't want her to have to work." So we bought term life insurance. That's the kind that, when the time runs out, it's over and you lose it if you don't use it. And it's cheap. So I bought term life insurance that would get the boys into school, and then Talitha.

And then I thought, "Well once they're in school, then OK, Noël could work, and then you don't need as much to support her."

We just tried to think it through. I'm responsible for her. And I thought that she would get married after I die, at least at a certain age. I don't know if that's true now. Maybe it would be. But I thought, "You're going to marry, and he's going to take care of you."

So we've always had very modest life insurance. We've never gotten huge amounts. I've just tried to think through what it would be like.

The principle is that planning your future so that you live simply and give generously is smart. It's people who want to be rich that fall into many temptations. And that can be now and that can be later. So don't want to be rich! Want to be simple and give yourself wholly to ministry until you drop!

©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org