How one couple got ready for retirement, and put generosity in the plan

Preparing for retirement |

The Eshbach's developed a plan that helped them meet their goals  

In the last number of years, Warren and Theresa Eshbach have thought plenty about the future.

Both in their 70s, they are winding down their careers. They’re still doing some work: Warren, a retired pastor, serves as an adjunct professor and Theresa, a retired development officer, provides fundraising consulting.

As they discussed retirement, one goal stayed toward the top: be generous.

Warren and Teresa Eshbach

Warren and Theresa Eshbach worked with Everence to include gift annuities as part of their financial plans in retirement.

“It’s part of my DNA,” Theresa says. “In my family it was just a given that you tithed and gave to the church. And we came to understand the joy of giving.”

Warren recalls a singular moment that shaped how he’d give in his lifetime. He remembered his first days as a young and low-paid pastor at a small church in Maryland.

“As I was leaving for church that first Sunday as pastor, I thought ‘what am I supposed to do?’” Warren recalls. “Right there in the garage, I put my foot up on the car, thought about the biblical instructions on tithing, and wrote my first check,” Warren said. “That was it. That’s how it started for me.” A lifelong commitment to sharing followed.

But what would generosity look like in retirement when work income stopped?

As the former executive director of Institutional Advancement for Bethany Theological Seminary, an institution of the Church of the Brethren, Theresa knew about the advantages of planned gifts. She knew that planning would allow them to continue to live comfortably and still practice generosity.

Warren and Theresa had developed good relationships with representatives at Everence, and sat down with an Everence financial advisor to discuss their options.

“It felt so good to talk to Everence. The advisor came to our house and went through step-by-step to show us the realities and the possibilities,” Theresa said.

They settled on a deferred gift annuity, which provides fixed lifetime payments to the donor at a later time, then the remaining funds go to charity once the donor passes away. It also offers certain tax advantages.

But there was another advantage that also resonated.

“There is a faith-based perspective to the gift annuity because of the way the funds are invested, which matches our values because money doesn’t go to companies in defense, tobacco or other things we don’t support,” Warren said.

“I see this as a social witness,” he added.

What’s more, working with Everence and affiliate Mennonite Foundation allowed Warren and Theresa the flexibility to name several charities as the gift recipients and also decide how the gift is divided.

And Warren says planning brings other benefits.

“Having a plan in place now enables us to plan ahead for future giving. It also provides for us a means to access financial planning counsel from Everence.”

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