Where’s Grandpa?

A nice game of chess

A nice game of chess (Photo credit: Wouter de Koning)

Having lived in Western New York for almost 10 years now, I have heard many reasons for the economic decline of our region – and they all have some merit:

1. Taxation

2. Government policies that overburden the corporate and small business sectors (not to mention the average worker)

3. NAFTA (as well as the move to southern states by our businesses)

4. Increase of government to private sector ratio of workers

5. Salt on the roads instead of sand (or coal dust)

6. Cost of litigation and legislation

But I would like to add another one that most people don’t ever think about – retirees.

According to the US Census Bureau, the average age when people retire is 62, and they live for an average of 18 years in retirement.  If those same people plan on a $3000/month income from retirement for those 20 years, they would need approximately $500,000 in their nest egg (liable to wide fluctuations of course due to annualized rates of return, etc.).

Now imagine these people earning a living in WNY for 30+ years, building up this nest egg, then retiring to where else – sunny Florida.  Florida then becomes the recipient of this half a million dollar nest egg in the form of cost of living over the next 20 years.  WNY’s earned income becomes Florida’s revenue.

Is it any wonder that the economies of Southern states have been faring so much better than northern ones over the last 30 years?

Now imagine that nest egg being spiritual insight, wisdom and influence in a local congregation of believers.  Move down south to worship with hundreds of others in the same boat you are in, and the enjoyment and entertainment values are high – but ministry potential is low.  No one there needs what you have, and the needs they do have – you can’t supply.

It is diversity of gifts and life stages and situations that create a healthy, sustainable Body.

“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?  If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” (I Corinthians 12:17-20 NIV)

It’s hard to mentor the younger generations in a retirement community.