Can You Retire?

From time to time, I read “ruminations” published by David E. Hultstrom. Along with Anitha Rao, David is the co-founder of Financial Architects and is the smartest person who never successfully taught me how to use a financial calculator. In his July 1, 2023 post, David answered someone’s question about retirement this way:

“You can always retire (the primary “personal goal” for most people) successfully if you save enough pre-retirement and spend little enough post-retirement.”

This may seem obvious, but many people don’t think about saving and spending beyond a superficial level. Let’s think about it for a minute using Joseph and his encounter with Pharaoh in Genesis 41.

Pharaoh had a dream that bothered him and no one could interpret it. His cup bearer told Pharaoh about Joseph, so Pharaoh sent for Joseph. Once Pharaoh recounted the dream, Joseph told Pharaoh the dream was from God and the events foretold in it would come to pass. Joseph said the dream promised seven years of plenty, which would followed by seven lean years. During the lean years, famine would consume the land. Then, in verses 33 through 36, Joseph advised Pharaoh as follows:

“Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land[of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”

Not everyone has the benefit of a Joseph, but most of us have the benefit of common sense. If you don’t save enough during times of plenty, then you’ll go hungry when times get lean. Save more. Spend less. And connect with a “discerning and wise” financial planner like David E. Hultstrom.


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