Paul Phair recognizes that for some pastors, “retirement” is somewhat of a loose concept. “We may not, as pastors, view ourselves as ‘retiring.’ We always want to be engaged in ministry, but there will come a time when our income will decline."
He puts it more plainly: “We essentially need to prepare for 20-30 years of unemployment.”
Fortunately for Phair, the North Dakota church he began pastoring in 1979 was enrolled with FCMM and made a retirement plan part of the benefits package. So he was able to begin setting aside funds early — and easily.
Even then, before the plan offered the variety of options it does today, investors outside of FCMM advised him to participate. “They said it was an extremely good value because the overhead cost was low and the benefit was great. And [FCMM] is a nonprofit organization.”
More recently, Phair took advantage of another perk available to all participants. He met with an FCMM financial consultant to get personalized advice and to customize his plan.
Phair and consultant Jeff Englin spent an hour talking through possibilities over the phone before refining the specifics of Phair’s involvement. “He listened well to my values and helped me honor them with the allocations we selected together.” In the years to come, Englin and Phair will check in to make sure Phair is on target.
Moving forward, Phair hopes to put money toward FCMM’s Vanguard fund, which he describes as “a tremendous mutual fund family with low-cost fees.” The availability of this fund stands as proof of how FCMM has expanded over the years to meet the needs of its investors. “The options have been dramatically transformed,” Phair says. And as a plan participant for the past three decades, he would know.