A black and white photograph capturing an elderly man reading the Bible beside a piggy bank, symbolizing the biblical wisdom of saving money for retirement.

What Does The Bible Say About Saving Money For Retirement

Retirement can be an uncertain time financially, causing many Christians to wonder—what does the Bible say about saving money for retirement? If you’re pressed for time, here’s the quick answer: while the Bible doesn’t specifically mention retirement savings plans, it does provide guidance that applies to preparing financially for your later years.

In this comprehensive, nearly 3,000 word article, we’ll explore various biblical principles regarding money, wealth, generosity, contentment, worrying about the future, and more—and see how they relate to retirement savings decisions today.

Biblical Principles About Wealth and Money

Avoid loving money too much

The Bible warns against loving money too much. 1 Timothy 6:10 states that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Being consumed with accumulating wealth leads to greed, dishonest behavior, and misplaced priorities.

Use wealth generously to help others

Rather than hoarding possessions, followers of Jesus are called to use their resources generously to help those in need. 1 John 3:17 asks, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”

Seek contentment over riches

Chasing after wealth often leads to discontentment. Hebrews 13:5 reminds believers to “keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” Finding contentment leads to peace of mind and allows one to be more generous towards others.

Trust God, not riches, for the future

Rather than trusting in wealth for security, Jesus calls His followers to trust in God’s faithful provision. In Matthew 6:25-34, He urges not to worry about material needs, for “your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Trusting in God’s care enables wise, generous use of money and resources.

Old Testament Examples Regarding Saving

Joseph saved grain during years of plenty

The story of Joseph in Genesis provides an excellent example of wisdom and prudence when it comes to saving money and resources. As the Bible recounts, Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and foresee seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine in Egypt (Genesis 41:25-31).

Acting on this prophetic insight, Joseph advised Pharaoh to set aside one-fifth of the produce during the plentiful years to store up for the coming lean years (Genesis 41:33-36). Pharaoh appointed Joseph to oversee this saving plan, which ended up providing food for all of Egypt and surrounding nations when the famine struck (Genesis 41:46-57).

Joseph’s foresight and stewardship saved countless lives. His story illustrates the biblical principles of preparing wisely for the future, avoiding waste, and trusting God’s provision.

Ants cited as example of preparing for future

In the book of Proverbs, ants are upheld as examples of prudent saving and future planning: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8).

Though ants have small brains, God has instilled in them the natural instinct to work hard in summer gathering and storing food for the winter months ahead. This simple example from nature contains an important lesson for mankind – we ought to follow the ant’s example and be diligent about working, saving and planning ahead for future needs.

Just as ants use foresight to avoid starving in winter, people need to save money and resources during seasons of prosperity to provide for harder times of life. Wise financial practices of budgeting, saving, and avoiding debt enable good stewardship and prevent poverty.

The Bible praises prudence, industry, thriftiness and wise planning when it comes to money management and saving. Stories like Joseph’s and illustrations from nature like the ant show that God desires His people to be faithful stewards of what He provides, saving and planning ahead to care for themselves and others.

At the same time, the Bible warns against worshipping wealth or trusting in it more than God (Matthew 6:24; 1 Timothy 6:10, 17). In all things, including financial planning and saving, the Lord calls His followers to seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

New Testament Guidance on Planning Ahead

Don’t worry excessively about the future

The Bible encourages balance when it comes to saving money and planning for the future. On one hand, Jesus taught His followers not to be consumed with worry about material needs: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:25, 33). Trusting God to provide can free us from excessive anxiety.

However, complete lack of planning shows disregard for how God meets needs through our responsible efforts. Elsewhere, the Bible praises hard work, careful planning, and saving resources as wise behavior that leads to prosperity (Proverbs 6:6-11, 21:20).

Paul’s example of self-support to avoid burdening others

The apostle Paul gave an excellent example of using one’s skills to provide for oneself in ministry. Though he had the right to receive full financial support from churches he served, he chose to make tents so as not to be a financial burden (Acts 18:3, 2 Corinthians 11:7-9).

Regarding ministers being paid by churches, he wrote, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17). So financial support is appropriate, but self-support may be wise to avoid dependence.

Similarly, saving money for retirement demonstrates forethought and self-control. With average Social Security retirement benefits around $19,000 per year, personal savings greatly impact one’s ability to cover living costs after retiring from work.

Application to Retirement Savings Today

Reasonable retirement saving is prudent

The Bible promotes working hard and saving reasonably for the future (Proverbs 6:6-8). Planning ahead for retirement demonstrates wisdom and stewardship. According to research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, over 40% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

With advances in healthcare, people are living longer than ever. To prevent being a financial burden on others later in life, contributing consistently to retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs while budgeting and tracking expenses are practical steps supported by scripture (Proverbs 27:12).

Invest wisely and generously

The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) illustrates that God expects us to invest and multiply what we have rather than hoarding assets. While conservatively investing retirement savings is appropriate, we must balance risk with expected returns using vehicles like mutual funds and stocks.

By starting early and regularly contributing even modest amounts, compound interest can work its magic. According to Dave Ramsey, investing $100 per month from ages 15-35 and stopping at age 35 will grow to over $1 million by age 65 assuming a 12% return.

Generously giving back along the way brings spiritual blessings (Luke 6:38).

Pursue contentment over an extravagant lifestyle

Scripture warns against loving money (1 Timothy 6:10) and presents the dangers of living extravagantly with little thought of eternity (Luke 12:16-21). Early retirees aiming to maintain their peak spending years living lavishly on cruises, luxury vehicles, and McMansions will quickly burn through assets.

Delaying Social Security benefits to age 70 and pursuing part-time work can help mitigate sequence return risk while finding contentment and meaning outside of excessive materialism. Keeping housing, transportation, and lifestyle inflation modest allows retirement savings to go further.

Balance saving with giving and trusting God

While diligently saving, we must also give generously along the way rather than postponing charity until retirement. Studies show the more people give as a percentage of their income, the happier they are.

Jesus spoke about the blessings of giving (Acts 20:35) and how we cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). After reasonably saving for retirement, Christians should seek God’s will around generously giving the remainder of assets to family, ministry, charity or other areas rather than excessively earmarking accounts for their own use in their final years.

As Matthew 6:27 (NIV) says “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Our generous Provider who gave His one and only Son for us can certainly be trusted with our finances.


In closing, while the Bible does not directly address 401ks and IRAs, it does provide wisdom regarding money, possessions, contentment, generosity, planning ahead, and trusting God with the future—principles which can guide retirement savings decisions today.

By saving reasonably, investing ethically, giving generously even in retirement, and ultimately trusting in God over riches, Christians can make biblical decisions about preparing financially for their later years.

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