Have you ever considered volunteer work in retirement? Whether you’re planning to take a full-blown volunteer vacation as a retiree, or you want to help at your local animal shelter weekly, incorporating volunteering into your schedule as a retiree has a wide range of benefits. From improving your physical and emotional health, to finding a connection in your community, to making an impact on the world around you - volunteer work is a fantastic lifestyle pursuit for retirees.
Volunteering has been proven to have many health benefits - both physical and emotional. Senior Corps, led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, studied the health benefits of volunteer work among senior citizens in 2015. Their results were astounding. Senior Corps volunteers self-identified as feeling less isolated since beginning volunteering, that they had improved social connections, and minimized symptoms of depression.
Volunteer work also promotes physical activity for retirees. Even if you’re not doing labor-intensive volunteering, getting out of the house to serve dinner at your local soup kitchen, or participating in a community clean up day, provides you with a healthy dose of purpose-driven movement. You may be excited about staying in shape as a new retiree with more time on your hands for physical exercise, but it’s easy to fall off the bandwagon and lose motivation over time. Volunteering offers an often low-impact way to stay consistent.
Many retirees are surprised when they deal with feelings of depression or overwhelm in retirement. They have plans to fill their time with all of their favorite hobbies, spoiling their grandkids, and spending quality time with close friends. Then, when they make the transition to being a full-time retiree, they feel a lack of fulfillment. The truth is that work, especially if you do what you love, gives you a sense of purpose and value. When that goes away, it can feel like your time and your money no longer line up with the things that are most important to you.
Volunteering can help you to construct an impactful lifestyle in retirement that continues to give purpose to your time, and a structure for your schedule. This is incredibly useful, especially if you take it a step further by creating a retirement budget that matches your values and prioritizes your goals. In retirement (and before retirement) you want to create a life that leaves you feeling proud and fulfilled - and volunteer work can help you to achieve that.
Know that you want to volunteer in retirement, but aren’t sure where to begin? Plan ahead to make volunteering a priority. You might start by determining what your seasonal schedule looks like, and find spots on your calendar where there’s more time to pursue volunteer work.
For example, blocking out a portion of your summer for volunteering, or deciding to participate in annual volunteer events around the holidays, can help you to start putting a plan together for your time. Maybe it makes more sense for you and your lifestyle to commit to a consistent volunteer schedule on a weekly or monthly basis. Whatever your retirement lifestyle looks like, the best way for you to find time for volunteer work is to make it a priority and incorporate it into your lifestyle roadmap.
Want to learn more about volunteering in retirement? Need help creating a financial plan that supports your values and lifestyle goals? Contact us today! We’d love to help you build your ideal retirement.
Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.
"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.