Congratulations to Pastor Garlena Hines, the Generational Wealth Builder of the Fourth Quarter for 2018!

“Embracing Retirement”









Pastor Garlena L Hines, M.A

The year was 1981 and I was preparing for my senior year in high school.  I was living in a low-income house and was unaware that I was living below the poverty level.  It was my desire to help my mother, who was a widow with a serious heart condition. Unfortunately, my father passed when she was six months pregnant with me; therefore, I had a sense of obligation to financially help.  I was unsure of the workforce, how to complete a job application or how to conduct myself on an interview.  June 1981 would change my life forever.  The phone rang and it was the High School Co-op teacher.  She wanted to know if I was interested in working as a Student-Aide at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY).

My first job was with the Equal Employment Opportunity Office.  I was fascinated because my supervisor, the late Dr. John Ashby, was one of the few African American supervisors.  As I was preparing for my senior year, I had to make the decision whether to continue working or continue with the marching band.  As a teenager, this was a hard decision since I worked so hard to be the first chair saxophonist and gained the respect of my peers.  I also had to consider the financial support I was giving to my mother.  I had to choose maturity over desire and I continued working at the shipyard.

I was so proud of contributing to the household as my mother had worked as a maid for years.  I hated that job; however, I knew she did what she had with the limited education and skills she possessed. My senior year was fabulous.  I would take my three classes, catch the city bus to the shipyard and work my four hours.  Upon graduating from high school, I enrolled at Norfolk State University and continued in the student-aid program. In 1986, I was blessed to be hired as a GS-3 Clerk Typist.  My tenure with the U.S. government included jobs: Technical Library Tech, Supply Clerk, Administrative Assistant, Navy Recruiter Assistant, Security Clerk, Travel Clerk, Financial Analyst, Financial Tech, and Budget Analyst. I was blessed to have phenomenal supervisors who pushed me to excel.

As I prepare to retire, I am thankful to God and my Co-op teacher, Mrs. Underwood.  I have 37 years of federal service and eligible to retire August 2019; however, I will stay until January 2020.  It was my job working in the EEO Office which caused me to discover my passion to help others.  As a result of this passion, I returned to school in January 2011 to pursue my Master of Arts Degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy.  I have fulfilled all requirements and eligible to sit for the state board exam.

While I have invested in my retirement, I am also on a 90 Day Financial Fast which consists of: Increasing my tithes and offerings, NO spending unless it is an emergency, I cannot use my debit/credit cards, no eating out unless I am being treated and cash only purchases.  The money I would have spent on smoothies, coffee, snacks etc. the funds are being placed in a separate account for savings. Lastly, I am snowballing two small credit cards that will be paid off August 2019 and I will retire debt-free.

In closing, I will retire at the age of 55 with 38 years of federal service.  This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in my eyes.