Pension Plans and The Bible

Genesis 41:34-36
“Let Pharoah 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 the good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharoah for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be 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 during the year of famine.”

In the Genesis story of Joseph, we find a man that is able to interpret dreams. Using his gift from God, Joseph understands the prophetic dream of Pharoah in which there will be seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. The whole land prospers because of the specific planning in Genesis 41:34-36. They will take a percentage of the crop and store it for the years of shortage. This passage demonstrates the ability to implement a strategy for retirement. With an awareness that your income from your job will diminish, you can utilize other retirement options when you are in years of abundance.

One of these options is known as a pension. A pension is employer sponsored. It requires them to set aside contributions on the employee’s behalf into a pool of money. Most of the time, a pension allows the employee to contribute as well. Pensions will cover the employee until they die, and in some cases, they will give the benefit to a spouse or even a child. Pensions are defined benefit plans, while a 401k is a defined contribution plan. Some employers offer both opportunities or you can roll-over your 401k into a defined benefit plan.1

A traditional pension is based on a few criteria, such as: salary, amount of time working for the company, and any other measures set by the employer. In order for the benefits to “vest,” you must have stayed with the company for long enough. Since legislation was passed in 1978, there is a shift from pensions to 401ks because of the limited risk for the employer. 2 In a 401k plan, the risk is held almost entirely by the employee because they are the ones investing in employer or individual stocks, mutual funds, or ETFs. There are still some industries that have the potential for a defined benefit retirement plan, or traditional pension, including: teachers, utilities, government, nurses, military, and others. 3

There are some other key differences between a pension plan and 401k, such as portability and vesting period distinctions, but with a pension, there is guaranteed income for life. Preparing for your future can set you up for success. If your company doesn’t offer a traditional pension, like most companies these days, ask about the 401k and what percentage they match. This is an incentive to have you save more for retirement. Joseph retained a place of high distinction in the kingdom. He went from slave to free and used his gifts to serve not only himself, but all of the Earth.

1 “401K & Pension Plans: What’s the Difference?” YouTube, YouTube, 8 Nov. 2022,
2 Team, The Investopedia. “What Is a Pension? Types of Plans and Taxation.” Investopedia, Investopedia, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.
3 9 Jobs That Still Offer Traditional Pensions | Retirement | U.S. News, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

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