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Board of Pensions seminar addresses retirement in context of wholeness

‘THRIVE’ will be offered twice this fall and 12 times in 2020

by Holly Baker, Board of Pensions | Special to Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Lori Neff LaRue and the Rev. Dr. José Irizarry talk about THRIVE, a new two-day seminar offered by the Board of Pensions. (Photo courtesy of the Board of Pensions)

PHILADELPHIA — “People often think of retirement strictly in financial terms. ‘Am I saving enough money?’ ‘How much does Medicare Supplement cost?’ ‘When can I afford to retire?’” said the Rev. Lori Neff LaRue, Director of Wholeness Education for the Board of Pensions. “Those are extremely important questions to address, but they are far from the only ones.”

Experts increasingly see retirement as potentially the most meaningful period in a person’s life — a time of shalom. But that meaning must be cultivated now to be experienced later.

That’s why, this fall, the Board’s Education team is launching a new retirement planning seminar, THRIVE ― short for Thinking Retirement: Identity, Vocation, and Economics. Rooted in A Theology of Benefits, the two-day seminar addresses topics critically important to preparing for retirement in the context of wholeness.

Open to members nearing retirement and their spouses or partners, THRIVE covers subjects such as financial planning and retirement healthcare options as part of a larger exploration of identity, health, and vocation in retirement. “Practical considerations — such as ‘Where will I live?’ — are framed around questions of identity, such as ‘How will I continue to serve my God, and with whom?’” Neff LaRue said.

The seminar is designed to foster appropriate expectations for retirement living and help participants navigate this critical life transition, giving them the tools and resources they need to thrive in retirement.

Jacqueline Boersema

The financial portions of the seminar emphasize “achieving financial confidence and peace of mind,” said Jacqueline Boersema, Director of Financial Education for the Board and a certified financial planner. “In the past we emphasized a lot of the rules around retirement plans,” she said. “Now we’re providing basic financial concepts and tools so members are better equipped to perform basic retirement planning on their own.”

In addition to offering fresh content, THRIVE is structured to be more interactive and hands-on than its predecessor seminar, Growing into Tomorrow, Today.

The new seminar is designed to serve all Benefits Plan members approaching retirement. “We want to educate the broadest possible audience with appropriately targeted information, and that includes part-time employees of the PC(USA) who participate in the plan in some way,” said the Rev. Dr. José Irizarry, Vice President of Education for the Board of Pensions. “These employees are just as welcome to attend the THRIVE seminar as late-career pastors are.”

THRIVE is being offered twice this fall and 12 times in 2020. Already scheduled Growing into Tomorrow, Today seminars will be held throughout the fall.

Holly Baker is agency writer at the Board of Pensions, which supports wholeness in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) community and care for Benefits Plan members. For information, contact


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