Dr. Gerald House

The Investing Essay

Dr. Gerald House
4 min readApr 13, 2024

Do you remember how we were taught to author a good essay in English class? Our paper needs an introduction, body, and conclusion. When planning for our financial future, we often plan as if we were drafting an essay. Our early life is like an introduction. The body of our plan is for working and supporting a family. The final stage of our life is the conclusion or retirement. This planning is not necessarily bad, but some people abandon the simple essay standards and plan a different path. Additionally, we may find that expanding the life stages more closely aligns with our goals.

Many financial advisors adhere to the essay theme by only distinguishing between your working life (body) and retirement (conclusion). However, expanding the life stages can improve a client’s financial future. I introduced the Four Seasons of Investing in my book “Investing in a Secular World, Discovering Biblical Truths About Money” (House, 2022), as the late Larry Burkett prescribed in his book Investing in the Future (Burkett, 1977). Here, we add stages (bodies) to define our values and goals more closely.

The 20–40 Age Group

During this stage, we are building and working on our careers. We are also paying off loans, including student debt, and building a family. Because of the existing outlay of money, this stage does not allow us to build an investment portfolio significantly. We may begin investing, particularly in company 401Ks, but never make much of a dent in our investment portfolio. The 20–40 age group investment selection is often confined to mutual and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The lack of disposable income prevents this age group from giving to charitable organizations.

The 40–60 Age Group

In this age group, disposable income has increased because of stable jobs, debts, including our mortgage, are paid off, and our family has grown. This age group can also afford to give more to charitable organizations and start tithing to their local church. Their investment portfolio can allow them to get more aligned and diversified using individual stocks and bonds instead of managed funds. Consequently, this age group should migrate to permanent life insurance and begin their estate planning.

The 60-Up Age Group

This age group is often referred to as retirement. However, retirement may not be at the forefront of many people’s minds. Some people may want to continue the same path of work and lifestyle well beyond the usual non-work-related age. As long as you remain healthy, there is no reason not to continue doing what you enjoy. The Bible only mentions retirement once in Numbers 8:23–26. However, it also states that the retired Levites may assist their brothers in their duties at the tent of meetings. This sounds much like acting as a consultant. Finally, this group should complete their estate plans, elect family members as the power of attorneys, and select those who will control our medical decisions.

The Decumulation Stage

Most financial planners do a fair job of planning for retirement during working years. However, they work with a limited vision, as if retirement is the ultimate goal. Breaking down your goals in smaller increments during your lifetime is a better choice and more effective. Only assisting clients in accumulating assets during their careers is very narrow-minded because several other goals must be considered. For instance, how do we use the assets we have accumulated? What is the process of decumulation? Financial planners and advisors are so consumed with asset building that they ignore the planning required for decumulation. Kim Butler and Kate Phillips, in their book Perpetual Wealth: How to Use “Family Financing” to Build Prosperity and Leave a Legacy for Generations, compare this to getting to the top of the mountain without having a plan to descend safely down the other side. Spending down your assets without having a cash flow plan is detrimental to your long-term financial health.

Creating a simple financial plan, similar to writing a good essay, may work for some people; however, building out and planning in smaller increments during our lifetime offers superior goal-centered focus. Admittedly, we can only do three things with money: save, spend, or give it away. Everyone’s investment plan is unique. However, subdividing our investing lifetime into smaller stages allows us to judge our progress.

Your faithful servant.


Burkett, L. (1997). Investing for the Future, Chariot Victor Pub.

Butler, K., & K. Phillips. (2021). Perpetual Wealth, How to Use “Family Financing” to Build Prosperity and Leave a Legacy for Generations. Prosperity Economic Movement.

House, G. DBA, (2022). Investing in a Secular World; Discovering Biblical Truths about Money. Christian Faith Publishing.

The Holy Bible: NKJV New King James Version. 2016. Nashville, Tennessee: Homan Bible.