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Insights Giving Strategies

Finding More Purpose in Retirement

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Many retirees organize their new schedules around their hobbies and interests. Rather than squeezing all your practice and learning into off hours and weekends, you can now invest more of your time into the activities that will make this new stage of your life more fulfilling. 

You can also use your unique skillset to give back and help causes that are trying to improve Return on Life for your greater community. Orienting volunteer work around the things you do best could help you find new meaning and satisfaction in your hobbies while also creating new social connections that will deepen your retirement experience. 

Here are some examples of the synergies retirees can create between what they love to do and what their community needs:


Share your love of reading with adults who are trying to make a positive change in their lives. The teaching curricula that many adult literacy programs use will give you a fascinating new perspective on how words work, block by block. And as your students progress, you'll gain a new appreciation for the power of story and the importance of communication. 

Animal Lovers

If your dog or cat spends more time on the couch than you do, find some younger, more enthusiastic playmates at your local animal shelter. There may be opportunities to walk, groom, and feed animals, or to help on the administrative side to find your new furry friends good homes. 

Doctors, Dentists, and Nurses

Take a couple weekly shifts at a nearby free clinic or senior center. Connect with organizations like the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders and work on a major health care mission at home or abroad. 


Put your green thumb to work outside your backyard. Volunteer to help neighbors with their own lawncare needs or gardening projects. Turn that patch of weeds at the end of your block into a community garden. Volunteer to use your passion and gifts with your church, local parks, recreation department, or nature center. 


Your favorite nonprofit or charity might need a new logo, or some graphic design work for its next big campaign. You could also offer to teach a class at your local senior center or start a new after school program for kids and teenagers. Neighbors might appreciate your help adding a splash of color to a bare wall or a peeling fence.


ChatGPT hasn't replaced you yet! Charitable orgs and schools still need wordsmiths who can create and edit professional copy. You could also start a local writer's circle to encourage other writers and get feedback on your own budding masterpiece. 


Help homebound friends, family, or neighbors do their weekly grocery shopping. Cook healthy meals for folks who can't or folks who need a little extra help, like new moms or a neighbor who's on the mend. Organize a monthly potluck dinner that rotates through your neighborhood, bringing people together to share good food and new recipes.


Are your own grandkids too far away for a daily visit? Spend part of your week subbing at your local grade school. Many states facing high demand offer accelerated paths towards earning a substitute teaching license. If you don't want to teach, volunteer in the lunchroom, library, or at after school programs. 

And when you do spend time with your grandkids, give them some one-one-one instruction on hobbies you might be able to share. Paint, sculpt, or woodwork together. Start a family book club. Take them on a run and show them your half-marathon training schedule. Straighten out their drives and strengthen their backhands. 

These kinds of activities may not fit a traditional definition of “giving back,” but helping your grandkids grow is certainly a very high use of your talents. 

What hobbies and causes do you want to organize your retirement around?

Between industry news and personal experience.