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Volunteering Makes You Happy in Retirement

August 17th, 2016 | 2 min. read

By Jacob Schroeder



What will make you happy in retirement? Your answer, of course, is personal. However, of all retirement activities, the one that may make you most happy involves making others feel better.

While retirement is often portrayed in advertisements and on TV as a time to concentrate solely on yourself, it’s not how most people choose to live their later years.

When asked in an HSBC retirement survey what retirement activities working age people aspire to do, the top answer was spending more time with friends and family (55%). A third of pre-retirees aspired to become involved in charity or volunteer work. According to the survey results, most retirees fulfilled that aspiration.

It turns out, those retirees may be the happiest, as volunteering can have a significantly positive impact on your retirement.

Wondering how you can fulfill your personal retirement goals? You need a financial plan, and an Advance Capital adviser can help. Contact an adviser today.

Giving back boosts happiness in retirement

Two-thirds of retirees say they’ve found retirement to be the best time in life to, not golf, not travel, not sleep in, but to give back, according to an Age Wave/Merrill Lynch study. Retiree’s give back their time, their skills and their money.

The study found that retirees were three times more likely to say “helping people in need” brings them happiness in retirement than “spending money on themselves.”

Further, those who donate money or volunteer: feel a stronger sense of purpose (59% to 43%) and self-esteem (57% to 51%), and are happier (66% to 52%) and healthier (50% to 43%).

Volunteer opportunities in Detroit

Now that you know volunteering can be one of the most fulfilling retirement activities, how do you get started?

If you live in Southeast Michigan, there are a wide array of volunteer opportunities in Detroit and its surrounding communities.

First, you should decide what cause you would like to contribute to and in what capacity – time, money or skill. Then locate a related charity or nonprofit organization.

If you’re looking for way to give back – and to increase your happiness in retirement – here are some volunteer opportunities in Detroit to consider:

  • Fight hunger Forgotten Harvest is a unique nonprofit organization that collects surplus food and distributes it to metro Detroit communities in need. Volunteers can lend a hand at their warehouse facility or its 103-acre farm.
  • Help children grow up – The Boys & Girls Club of America is a nationwide organization that is dedicated to providing a safe, positive environment for children. You can likely find a club near you.
  • Help animals find a good home – The Michigan Humane Society is the largest and oldest animal welfare organization in the state. In addition to general volunteer opportunities, you can help an animal get ready for adoption by acting as a foster caregiver.
  • Give a hand to veterans – The John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit needs volunteers in a variety of assignments, from helping transport patients to sorting donated books and magazines, to help veteran patients get the care they need and stay comfortable.
  • Enlighten and inspire people – There are many museums around metro Detroit that need volunteers as docents, tour guides and general staff support. Volunteers at the Detroit Institute of Arts, for example, provide tours, assist visitors in the galleries, work the museum shop and more.



Speak with an Advance Capital adviser who can help create a comprehensive financial plan for all your financial goals – no cost, no obligation. Fill out the contact form or call 800-345-4783.

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