Benefits of Volunteering in Retirement

By Bruce Godke

May 20, 2024

Benefits of Volunteering in Retirement

Key Points – Benefits of Volunteering in Retirement

  • Don’t Let Boredom Take Over Your Retirement
  • Studies About the Benefits of Volunteering in Retirement
  • 5 Benefits of Volunteering in Retirement from Senior Community Services
  • What Volunteering Opportunity Makes Sense for You?
  • 4 Minutes to Read

Developing a Sense of Purpose in Retirement

What gets you out of bed in the morning? Your career? Raising kids? What happens when these phases of your life are over? Many retirees lack a sense of purpose and feel a bit lost and aimless. That’s why we’re starting the Your Encore program. Even if you have a lot of hobbies and time to spend with friends and family, it’s common to find that something is missing from your life in retirement. If this sounds like you, please consider the benefits of volunteering in retirement.

There’s A Lot of Research to Back the Benefits of Volunteering in Retirement

A study done by Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand found that there is a positive relationship between volunteering and positive aging.1 Another study done by the University of Washington in St. Louis found that high-striving retirees that volunteer are able to fill an important need in their life.2

This phenomenon of increased happiness related to volunteering was also reported in an article titled, “Senior Volunteering in the context of Active Aging” in the World Applied Science Journal 2013.3 The researchers found that retirees who volunteer have a greater life satisfaction.

Studies have also shown that psychological well-being of older adults can be improved through engagement in meaningful volunteer activities and contributions to others.4 While there is a great deal of research to support the benefits of volunteering in retirement, we don’t want you to feel like you could just be some number in a study. This is your retirement and well-being we’re talking about. It’s important to understand what the benefits of volunteering are and how they can impact you.

5 Benefits of Volunteering in Retirement from Senior Community Services

The benefits of volunteering in retirement are going to look different for everyone, as it depends on the person and what type of volunteer opportunity they’re looking for. Consider these five benefits of volunteering in retirement from Senior Community Services that could make it a rewarding experience for you.5

  1. Helps Bridge Generation Gap
  2. Volunteering Time Makes You Feel Like You Have More Time
  3. It’s Good for Mental Health
  4. Helps Prevent Senior Isolation and Depression
  5. It Promotes Physical Activity

So, now that I’ve hopefully piqued your interest in the benefits of volunteering in retirement, what steps should you take the find the right volunteering opportunity for you? Here are some ideas to find the volunteering opportunity that helps your community that you’ll hopefully find rewarding.

5 Steps to Finding the Right Volunteering Opportunity

1. Determine Your Passion

You’ll likely be happier and be able to deliver more value to an organization that is involved causes you care about. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What causes are close to your heart?
  • What are your hobbies/interests?
  • What tasks do you enjoy?
  • What are aspects of your community that you would like to change or improve?
  • What do you feel are your greatest strengths?

2. Consider Your Time Capacity

Realistically, how much time can you commit to volunteering? Don’t over commit yourself. Doing so can cause frustration for you and the organization.

Identify Your Motivation

Why do you want to volunteer? Is it to make a positive impact or gain skills? Or is someone else pushing you? You must be honest with yourself and prospective organizations to find an opportunity that is mutually beneficial.

4. Look for Opportunities

Call or stop by your local charities to discuss their needs and your skills and time capacity. You can ask friends, neighbors, and colleagues for recommendations or join Facebook interest groups.

5. Apply for Positions as If You Are Applying for a Job

Most not-for-profit organizations will ask you to complete an application. Be as thorough as possible and include a cover letter highlighting what appeals to you about the volunteer role and why you feel that you would be a great fit.

If you don’t hear back from the organization, don’t be afraid to follow up with them. Remember that most not-for-profits are understaffed and run mostly by volunteers. So, don’t be offended if you don’t hear back from them immediately. Instead, be proactive and call and/or stop by to ask for a meeting. You may find that they don’t currently have a role that would be a fit for you, but they may recommend a different organization that does.

Volunteering in Retirement Can Be a Big Part of Your Encore

The process of finding the right volunteer opportunity can be a challenge but think of the benefits of it. It’s my hope that it will be more than worthwhile for you.

As I wrap up my around-the-world cruise to kick off my retirement, I’m looking forward to working with Modern Wealth clients to make sure they don’t feel stuck in retirement. One of my goals in retirement is to help give others a sense of purpose in retirement, which can potentially be unveiled by a volunteering opportunity.

Remember that planning for retirement isn’t just about the numbers. I’m launching the Your Encore program so that people can truly plan for what they want their lives to look like in retirement rather than just being focused not running out of money in retirement. If volunteering in retirement is something you want to do, great! If not, that’s OK too. But you need to have a goals-based financial plan.

If you have any questions about the benefits of volunteering, Your Encore program, or how to go about building your personalized financial plan, start a conversation with our team below.

Schedule a Meeting

At Modern Wealth, our focus is to give people more confidence that they’re doing the right things with their money, freedom from financial stress, and time to spend doing the things you love. If volunteering/helping others is something that you love, let’s prioritize that within your financial plan. We hope that you’ll see many benefits of volunteering in retirement if you’re considering volunteering opportunities.

Resources Mentioned in This Article

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Investment advisory services offered through Modern Wealth Management, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Modern Wealth Management an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Modern Wealth Management does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.