Are You Ready To Volunteer?

Bill Parrott |

Several years ago, I volunteered to build a church in Onaville, Haiti. Onaville is in the middle of nowhere and looks like the moon's surface. It's a dark place. When our team started building the church, a few locals would stop by to analyze our project, but as the week progressed, the site turned into a community gathering with food, music, and dancing. The residents of Onaville had a new church and gathering point. The church, as all churches do, was bringing people together. It was a gratifying trip for me and our team.

What will you do in retirement? It's a common question I ask as we develop financial plans for our clients. I typically receive standard answers like traveling, fishing, or playing golf; few people mention volunteering. However, if you're in, near, or contemplating retirement, consider a "career" as a volunteer. Volunteers are others-focused and have a strong sense of purpose and civic responsibility. They are also passionate, compassionate, empathetic, and energetic.

Are you curious about volunteering? Here are some facts.[1]

  • One in four Americans volunteers.
  • Women are more likely to volunteer than men.
  • People spend about 52 hours annually volunteering, or one hour per week.
  • Baby Boomers account for 37% of volunteers.
  • What percentage of nonprofits rely on volunteers? 100%.

Transitioning from retirement to volunteer takes planning and patience unless you have a history of serving others. In addition to feeling financially secure, you must allocate your time, which is a valuable commodity.

Here are a few ideas to help you become a permanent volunteer.

  • Plan. A financial plan will help you answer several questions about leaving the workforce.
  • Inventory. Take a personal inventory of your strengths and weaknesses to identify your traits, define your optimal serving opportunities, and ensure a good match. Here is a link to a strength finder to help you in your journey. My top two strengths are giving and serving.
  • Passion. If you were financially independent, how would you spend your time? Who would you serve? What are your passions? What are your talents?
  • Time. It might be challenging to volunteer full-time, so start small. Find a few evening or weekend opportunities to get your feet wet. Working with several groups will help you refine and narrow your search when you're ready to commit to one or two organizations.
  • Resume. If you have a history of serving, create a resume of your projects. A volunteer resume may help you find your passion. It may also help others help you find optimal serving opportunities.
  • Partner. If you're unsure where to serve, ask a friend. If you have a friend or two who regularly volunteer, ask to tag along. One of the primary reasons people serve and give is because somebody asked them to help.
  • Search. A Google search for nonprofits or serving opportunities will identify numerous organizations seeking assistance.

I love serving others and look forward to volunteering full-time. I don't know of a higher calling. Anybody can write a check to an organization, but committing time and talent takes a special person.

Happy Volunteering!

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. ~ Matthew 20:28

January 15, 2024

Bill Parrott, CFP®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level.

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