Terry and Brenda Bouchard may have waited later in life than they should have to start saving for retirement. When they married 46 years ago, they made a commitment to tithe, first and foremost. As the years passed, they then focused on raising their three children and kept putting retirement planning on the back burner. “All of a sudden, I realized I didn’t have anything,” Brenda said…
Before Terry met Brenda, he was in the Air Force, stationed in a number of areas, including Texas, Japan and Oklahoma — where he met Brenda, more than 46 years ago. Brenda was also in the Air Force at the time. Soon after they met, Brenda withdrew from the Air Force, and they got married. After getting married, Brenda wore many hats: full-time stay-at-home mother, nurse, math tutor and office manager for a construction company. They knew Terry would have a retirement package from the military. Between that and social security, they assumed it would likely be enough in order for them to retire comfortably; however, that was not the case.
“Tithing was priority to us,” Brenda said. “That was the first check we wrote each month when we got paid. I’m so glad we did that, but I wish we had made the same commitment about saving money for retirement. We waited too late in life to do that. We were most focused on raising our children. It just seemed like when trying to raise three children, there was no money left to save.”
It was 1999 when Brenda finally decided to seek counsel from a financial advisor to start creating a plan for their financial future. “Thankfully, at the time, I had a job with a very generous boss. We received a good bonus each year, and I was able to take that bonus and turn it into a savings plan. God blessed us at just the right time.” The Bouchards say their financial advisor taught them the best ways to save and grow their money, while dealing with risks.
Looking back on it now, Terry and Brenda agree that making a commitment to put back money each month for retirement is one of the most difficult things they have ever done. “If we could advise others to do anything, we would encourage them to live below their means and start saving sooner,” Brenda said. “Social security isn’t going to work. If that’s all we had, we would both still be working!”
Because the Bouchards devoted the last 20 years to preparing for retirement, they are now beginning that next chapter. While Terry still works for Enterprise two or three days a week to get out of the house, they are finally enjoying the freedom they planned for all those years ago. In May, they listed their home for sale with plans of purchasing a large RV so they can travel the country. This summer, they are most excited to take two of their grandchildren camping to see Noah’s Ark.
“My mom moved in with us 14 years ago but passed away last year,” Brenda said. “So, now is the time. We’re looking forward to spending more time with our three children and six grandchildren and also marking a few things off our bucket list. Wherever we land, God’s got something for us to do.” They may be retired from their careers, but they are still going to work for Him.
The Bouchards are a great example of getting to the finish line despite the late start. To get your plan started today, click here.