Opting Out Of Social Security

Many pastors have made the decision to “opt out” of Social Security over the years. Whether or not this is a good idea is widely debated. My goal in this blog is not to address that debate. Instead, I want to talk about what the pastor should do if he does indeed “opt-out”. First of all, it is important to realize what this means. Of course, you will not pay the tax that is associated with Social Security. The reason this is even an option is tied to the debate of whether the tax being paid in part by your employer (the church) is legal. If you decide to “opt out” you will not pay this tax, which seems like a blessing at the time, but it also means that you will not be eligible to draw Social Security in the future. This is important because many Americans live off of what they draw in their retirement years. If you “opt-out” you will not receive a check each month. Because this is true, it falls on you, the pastor, to ensure that you are saving sufficient funds in a retirement account to live off of later in life. You should be putting 10-15% of your income into an IRA or a 403B or something of that nature so that you will have some type of income later in life when you are not able to pastor any longer. If you are not doing this, and Jesus doesn’t come back before you get to that time in your life, you will be in trouble. Serious trouble. I say this to bring this reality before your eyes today before it’s too late. I know that we live by faith. I understand all of that. But faith is no substitute for being irresponsible. If you have opted out of Social Security, but sure that you are taking what you would have paid in tax and putting it away for the future. Remember what Solomon said, “Go to the ant...consider her ways and be wise.” It is not unspiritual to plan for the future, instead it’s expected according to the Scriptures. I encourage you to give this some thought. And if you are not already saving for the future, begin today!