Cassius and Valerie Smith dreamed of a retirement filled with purpose and freedom — a life where they could be world travelers, missionaries and active grandparents.
Before they made the decision to retire, Cassius had built a 32-year career in information technology and Valerie had served as a stay-at-home mom and graphic artist. After being encouraged by their son to explore volunteering as Christian missionaries, the Smiths began to envision their next area of service together. Relying on their financial advisor’s expertise and doing their homework, they became self-funded missionaries for Trans World Radio. The global media organization uses radio broadcasts, online streaming and various platforms to spread Christian principles.
“Retiring early was an incredible feeling,” Cassius said. “We wanted to retire while we still had plenty of energy and could use the skills and talents that God has poured into us to reach the world for Christ.” The Smiths have been missionaries for seven years. Cassius is a deputy for Trans World Radio, and Valerie is a ministry assistant. She also is a producer of the English version of Women of Hope, Project Hannah’s radio program. “We make media contextually relevant in 230 languages and for 160 countries. We’ve been very busy but we love being part of this organization. We even relocated to be close to the TWR offices,” Cassius said.
While retiring early was their dream, the Smiths had some reservations. “We had the same amount of consternation and fear that anyone does when they retire, particularly with early retirement,” Cassius explained. In addition relying on the expertise a trusted financial advisor, the couple had more suggestions for those considering retiring early. They recommended reading “Half Time” and “Game Plan” by Bob Buford. “We had to consider our spending patterns and prioritize our expectations for giving, travel and investments. We definitely had homework,” Cassius added.
The Smiths are living their dream of impacting the world, while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle that includes frequent visits with their grandchildren and world travel. In 2015 they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in France, and this fall they are traveling to New Zealand. Their lives are great examples of the freedom that can come with foresight and planning to use each day with purpose. #VectorStories
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