Those who volunteer in retirement have a world of choices. And why not? There are volunteer opportunities abound for the retired. Careful retirement planning could give you the freedom to finally put aside the 9–5 job and pursue your true passions in your golden years as a volunteer.
So, stop for a moment and think about your interests: What are they — and how could you use them to give back to your community? Explore some of the available options and learn how you could start a new "career" as a volunteer.
Could the perfect volunteering opportunity be just around the corner? Volunteering within your community could help you connect with your neighbors and stay socially active in retirement. Take stock of the charities within your area and decide where you would like to devote your time and energy. You may also be interested in working with more than one organization or cause.
Follow in the footsteps of former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter. They are two of the most famous "retirees" and are well-known for their work with Habitat for Humanity. Examine other volunteering opportunities available with your local park service. If you are a member of an organized religion, ask about possible faith-based volunteering opportunities. Or reach out to nonprofits, such as hospitals and nursing homes — as volunteers of all skill levels are always welcome.
You could also retire and stay active in your former chosen career. There are many groups interested in recruiting people from specialized fields, such as veterinarians, accountants, plumbers, carpenters and more.
Hit the Road
Opportunities are also available for those looking to head out and explore the United States — or the world. There are even groups of retirees who travel in RVs across the United States from one volunteer job to the next, according to CNNMoney.
These roaming volunteers — many of whom are in their 60s, 70s and 80s — help various organizations around the country, often only requesting free sites on which to park their RVs. They use their retirement savings to pay for their expenses, which generally boil down to food, gas, health care, clothing and cell phone services. A lifestyle of service doesn't have to be a stretch financially.
And what do these retirees have to say about this lifestyle? Many feel it's akin to the realization of a dream. Roaming volunteerism allows them to meet new people throughout the United States (and sometimes the world), use their current skills, develop new talents and visit places they had previously only seen on television or read about in magazines and guidebooks.
Don't have an RV? No problem. Some of these volunteers travel using other forms of transportation. And once they're at the site, some organizations even provide volunteers with free room and board in exchange for their participation.
Many of today's retirees are living dreams unavailable to previous generations. Longer, healthier lives allow older adults to channel their skills, creativity and energy toward their lifelong passions. Find a new "career" as a volunteer in retirement — and help make the world a better place for future generations.