Leading a Fulfilling Retirement: Volunteering

March 13, 2017 12:07 pm

Daniel R. Legault, CFP®

Senior Financial Advisor

Retirement means different things to different people. For the individual whose job included heavy travel all over the world, they might be looking forward to long days in their home. Maybe your career required no travel, so you are eager to travel the world. Whatever your idea of a successful retirement may be, it seems that a truly fulfilling retirement is one which includes giving back through volunteering.

Why Volunteer?
Aside from the obvious help you are providing organizations and the community at large, there is a lot to gain personally. Retirees like the structure volunteering provides to their life by establishing a comfortable daily and weekly routine. Without the regime of work, the days can start to blend together.

Some other benefits of volunteering to consider:

  • Expand your network of friends who share the same passion and interests.
  • Reduce personal stress and increase your overall health by adding joy and optimism to people lives.
  • Increased knowledge through new experiences.

Where to Start?
Sometimes it may be overwhelming to determine how to get involved. You could start with your local church. Reach out to the administration of the church and ask who to contact for the community outreach program. I also found opportunities through local hospitals. For example, in visiting Lifespan.org I found an entire section devoted to opportunities for volunteers. Two other websites I found to be helpful were: https://www.southernrivol.org/ and http://www.serverhodeisland.org/ .

These are just some of the examples of how you could volunteer your time. Maybe this can inspire you to find your calling:

  • Assisting children and their families at a local pediatric hospice center
  • Helping children to read in school
  • Delivering meals to the elderly
  • Running a local food pantry
  • Donating time at a local animal shelter

Risk Involved
I thought I would end by adding a small piece on risk. We all know we live in a litigious society, so there are some things to consider as you donate your time. In many cases the organization should have liability insurance to protect the volunteers, but that might not always be the case. Be sure to ask to see how the organization protects its volunteers. From a personal liability standpoint, I would consider adding an umbrella policy to your homeowners and auto policy, particularly if you will be using your vehicle while you volunteer.  I have written a blog about the important of a personal umbrella policy in the past.  Also in 1997, there was the passage of the Volunteer Protection Act. My understanding of this act is that it resembles the type of Good Samaritan laws we have today. If you are unclear how you could be held personally liable for acts of volunteering you might want to consult with an attorney for clarity.

Feel Inspired?
Hopefully this short article provides you with the spark needed to find your passion when it comes to volunteering. Take action today, and you will be well on your way to a truly rewarding and fulfilling retirement!


Dan Legault, CFP® serves as Senior Financial Advisor at StrategicPoint Investment Advisors in Providence and East Greenwich. You can e-mail him at dlegault@strategicpoint.com.

The information contained in this post is not intended as investment, tax or legal advice. StrategicPoint Investment Advisors assumes no responsibility for any action or inaction resulting from the contents herein. Dan’s opinions and comments expressed on this site are his own and may not accurately reflect those of the firm. Third party content does not reflect the view of the firm and is not reviewed for completeness or accuracy. It is provided for ease of reference.