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Ron Paull: A Dream Finished

Ron Paull: A Dream Finished

Scranton area businessman Ron Paull doesn't just plan retirements. He plans legacies.

Ron PaullAs the owner and main advisor of Keystone Retirement Services, Ron helps people impact their families, churches, and communities.

He recently finished part of his own legacy through BBC's Degree Completion program. Many years ago before his senior year in the Youth Ministry program, he realized pastoring meant public speaking, and he wasn't a big fan of that. He took a job selling life insurance instead. His career was going well, so he didn't see the need to finish his degree.

Until last year. That's when his friends and pastor encouraged him to finish. Because of his life experience and certifications, Ron was only one class shy of his degree. He took the class and fulfilled his dream to finish his degree.

Now, Ron can pursue a master's degree in finance so he can continue to help and teach others about managing money. He and his wife, Becky, live in Scott Township, PA with their six daughters.

I came to faith in Christ at a young age, which saved me a lot of grief. The Lord saved me from a lot of trials. It was between my fourth and fifth grade year. My parents didn't allow me to wrestle in fourth grade and I thought the world had ended. I was getting into fights at school and my grades were falling. I heard evangelist Lowell Lundstrom preach a pretty amazing hellfire and brimstone message. I was always running, was choosing not to make a decision, and was always in trouble. I didn't have Jesus or the Spirit telling me to not do those things. I didn't know what heaven would be like, but I knew hell was not a fun place. I remember going out on the porch on the stoop and asking Jesus to be my Savior.

There was a huge difference. I was a poor student, but from fifth grade on my grades were much more consistent. I never got in a fight at school and was able to avoid moral failures through the rest of my schooling. I have served faithfully in church from the time I was at BBC and married.

When choosing BBC, I decided not to go where a scholarship was available. I wanted to wrestle and was looking at a college in Wisconsin whose wrestling coach was an Olympic gold medalist. But I chose Chris Davis instead. He was really the reason I chose BBC. His story was so intriguing. Through talking to him it was apparent BBC was a much more balanced institution.

Chris Davis was a huge influence, but so were Rembert Carter, Joe Schloegel, and Guy Rathmell. Dr. Carter caused many of my lifestyle changes as a young man and had a huge impact on my life and marriage. Now, his widow lives on our property. Schloegel and Rathmell eventually became clients.

Before my senior year, I realized everyone would expect me to get a job as a youth pastor. But I was scared to death of public speaking. I had been running a driveway-sealing business to earn money and was looking for something to do in the winter. I was introduced to an insurance salesman. They sold me insurance and actually offered a position selling insurance with them. It was intriguing and didn't include public speaking. But they would only hire me if I could work full-time.

I decided to start selling insurance. Two years later, in 1996, I began working with securities and later started investment and retirement planning. We then started doing public seminars about investment and retirement planning, which got me over my fear of public speaking. I realized it wasn't speaking in public that was the problem. It was being asked a question I didn't know the answer to. And I really didn't want to be wrong, either.

I never had a real incentive to finish college because my career was going well, and it wasn't going to directly benefit my career. But I always had a dream to finish. BBS Professor Dr. Dann Austin had always encouraged me to go on, as well as Dr. Jim Lytle and my pastor, Don Roe. They told me that getting a Bible degree was something I should do. Dr. Lytle mentioned that I might already have one with all of my certifications and life experience.

It turned out all that was needed was one class. There was 18 years of work and life experience that fulfilled most of what was missing. I only had one theology class left to take. It was on eschatology and it was a great class. I surprised myself and earned the best grade in all my years of school. I really enjoyed the class, and for my final project I got to preach my first sermon in my dad's church.

Now the goal is to earn a master's degree in finance. I am currently teaching local adult education classes for retirement. I have discovered I really enjoy teaching and would like to teach classes somewhere like BBC or help nonprofit organizations manage their money. Working toward a master's degree would build credibility for that.

Even though I didn't graduate right away, I always felt the education I got at BBC was very valuable. The counseling classes especially gave me the people skills to deal with difficult personal topics, like finances and taxes. My education has had a huge impact because it has helped me solidify my moral compass - what is important, what is not; what changes, and what doesn'.

The Bible and theology classes helped formulate my worldview, which is very, very important. I am helping people retire, but I have a very different view of retirement. Many people want to simply enjoy retirement for themselves, but I want to help them think about who they can pour their lives into. I'm not interested in helping someone manage their money to be self-absorbed, but so they can have an impact in their children's lives, their grandchildren's or even their church.

As the owner of Keystone Retirement Services, I am an outspoken Christian, but the company is not. There are other licensed people in my office. If someone doesn't like that I am a Christian, then they don't have to work with me. But I've gotten a lot of great opportunities as a financial advisor that many people never get. You get to know people through managing their money. You can't expect the same thing from someone who does not have the same biblical convictions. But you can challenge them that this stuff doesn't go with them. At the end of life, you keep going, and you go one of two places, and you kind need to have that one figured out.

Learning is a never wasted experience. I would encourage people to check out the online program. You have access to some really incredible teachers. This class was wonderful and enriching to my life. Now I have a better eternal perspective on how to live now. Better than that, I walked away with a much better understanding of the topic and it gave me a better worldview. Every class you take will give you a clearer and clearer picture of what Scripture tells us and what we can expect. It's always a good thing.

Contact Information
Phone: 570.489.4505
Email: rpaull@keystoneretirement.com

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers outstanding Christian higher education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to think biblically, grow spiritually, and serve faithfully as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

To learn more, go to www.bbc.edu or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 10/29/2013 11:57:41 AM

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