Running toward a stronger retirement.
When Michael Karunas, senior minister at Central Christian Church in Decatur, Illinois, became a Pension Fund member, retirement planning was the last thing on his mind. However, wise church leaders and mentors enrolled him in the Pension Plan, which started him on a path toward lifelong financial stability. Michael — who continues to save for retirement and college for their three children — now believes in a balanced approach of saving early and regularly, and investing for the long term.
Also a competitive long-distance runner, Michael’s physical endurance parallels fiscal endurance in extreme conditions (including the recent economic downturn). Pension Fund continues to manage retirement savings for Michael and others who give their lives in service to the church.
Financial coverage when illness strikes.
Dr. John Humbert, former General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), has Stone-Campbell roots that trail back to his great-grandfather, a Presbyterian pastor who immigrated to the United States along with Thomas and Alexander Campbell themselves. Although he briefly entertained the notion of becoming a basketball coach, it was clear that ministry was in his blood.
John joined Pension Fund as a participant during seminary at age 19, after hearing about Pension Fund’s benefits from many family members and pastors. However, a bout with tuberculosis during his second year of seminary at Lexington Theological Seminary put work and school on hold. Pension Fund was able to place Humbert on disability during that time period and pay his pension dues, allowing him to remain a member without disruption.
John’s early involvement with Pension Fund has helped him enjoy his retirement years, and he says he’s “amazed” at how Pension Fund has protected and grown his retirement income. According to John, by the end of the 1990s, his pension was actually larger than his final salary as General Minister and President. Today, his pension is three times the amount of his salary at retirement.*
Leaving a financial legacy in the wake of tragedy.
Rosemarie “Rosie” Santos was just a child when her father, Rev. Orlando Santos, passed away in 2002. Rosie remembers her father as a dedicated, hardworking minister with a never-ending “to do” list. Rev. Santos juggled several jobs, volunteer work and domestic duties on top of his ministerial duties of hospital visits and prayers with those in need. “Somehow, he would still find time to make me PB&Js,” says Rosie.
Even in death, Rosie’s father continued to provide for his family. Before he passed away, Rev. Santos was an active member of Pension Fund’s Pension Plan, which provided his family with death benefits. These included a spousal pension, child pension and education benefits. When Rosie decided to attend college at Northern Kentucky University, she received a grant every semester she was enrolled for 4 years and a monthly stipend (child pension).
Ultimately, Rosie ended up inheriting more than her father’s financial legacy, but his work as a humanitarian and educator. She graduated cum laude in May 2013 with two degrees, carrying the nomination of Student Life’s “2013 Senior of the Year.” According to her mother, Diana Santos, Orlando would be very proud of her accomplishments. “I am so grateful to Pension Fund for being there to help,” says Diana.
Three generations of ministry and Pension Fund membership.
Rev. Amy Piatt, senior pastor at First Christian Church in Portland, Oregon, grew up watching her parents (Rev. Mark Pumphrey and Suzie Frazier) and grandparents (Rev. Gene and Bonnie Frazier) save and give faithfully as they carried out their ministries. While Amy says she regrets her mother didn’t make her learn to play the piano, she’s glad her parents taught her about money — including saving, tithing and considering the “bigger picture.”
Today, all three generations are active Pension Plan members and donors. Amy and her husband, Christian, are continuing the family tradition by teaching their own children to save for the future (welcome, future Pension Fund members!).
*Specific retirement returns are not guaranteed by Pension Fund. Individual results may vary depending on contributions, market returns and longevity.