6 Ways to Give Back After Retirement

Many individuals work to establish a comfortable life after retirement. As the cost of living continues to rise, some retirees are forced to continue working after retirement, while others must cut down significantly on their expenses. Most retirees agree that part of maintaining a happy retirement is being able to give back. There are several affordable ways for retirees to give back to their communities by using their time, their money and their skills.

Mentoring

Becoming a mentor is an excellent way for retirees to give back and to fill a crucial gap. Studies show that approximately one out of three children will grow up without the guidance of a mentor.

There are two groups known for supporting retirement-aged mentors, and placing them in mentorship programs where they can be of most benefit. Experience Corps, a program of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), places mentors, 50 and older, in schools as tutors for children in kindergarten through third grade. This program was embraced by AARP in 2011, and it currently operates in more than 20 cities, bringing nearly 2,000 mentors to serve almost 30,000 students.

The federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) developed Senior Corps, which is a branch of AmeriCorps. The program places mentors, age 55 and older, with students in school or in an educational setting in the community. A smaller branch of Senior Corps, the Foster Grandparent Program, matches mentors over the age of 55 with the families of special-needs children.

Teaching

There are numerous opportunities for retirees to teach, even if they don't have previous experience in the educational field. Most retirees with teaching certificates can easily find a university where they may take on teaching positions and offer courses for free. Seniors may also be able to obtain teaching certificates following a short return to school. Retirees with substantial experience in their field of work or pleasure may also offer free courses at community or technical colleges or schools without the need to obtain teaching certificates, in most cases.

Other teaching opportunities exist at various centers of special interest. For example, there may be a local arts center in need of instructors in various art forms, such as painting or sculpture.

Donating to Charities

One of the major reasons why retirees can afford to make charitable donations is that most are tax-deductible.

Contributions to charities can be made in many forms, the most common being cash or checks. However, it is possible to donate highly appreciated stocks and other assets. The advantage to this is that the retiree may not have to pay any capital gains taxes on the appreciation in value of publicly traded securities or other assets.

There are other charitable vehicles that a retiree may utilize to give back. A retiree can work with an attorney to establish a family foundation, which the retiree and other family members can use to make donations to favorite charities. A charitable remainder trust is also an option; the retiree maintains an income interest for a certain period of time, then assets are given to the specified charity.

Writing

Writing is another option for retirees wanting to give back without spending all of their retirement funds. A retired individual may consider writing a book about his experiences and life lessons, or providing information and tips pertaining to his previous career or hobbies.

Such writing could also be done through a blog. In the age of the Internet, retirees can start their own blogs and give back by sharing knowledge and wisdom about any topic, including careers and other interests. If they prefer, they can write freelance articles and submit them to appropriate websites. Most sites like to provide lots of fresh content for visitors, so they welcome appropriate material.

Volunteer Work

Many retirees choose to give back to their local communities by taking advantage of the free time they have and doing local volunteer work. This is another way for retired individuals to give back without making a financial contribution. In most cities, there are wide varieties of volunteer opportunities available. One way to find out about volunteer opportunities is by contacting the nearest United Way office. United Way partners with a large number of charitable organizations and can provide information about volunteer opportunities with local private and government-funded agencies. Generally, if training is required for a specific volunteer job, such as crisis hotline counseling, the organization provides the training for free. Most agencies or organizations are more than eager to have volunteers help out on their own schedules. If a retiree is only available from noon until 2 p.m., two days a week, he can usually find an organization that is delighted to accept his schedule.

Missionary Work

As a step up from doing local volunteer work on a part-time basis, there's the temporary full-time commitment to volunteer work in the form of mission work.

For religious or spiritual retirees, particularly those belonging to an organized religion, becoming a missionary is another possible way to give back. Most churches have some type of missionary program in place, and they raise funds to send missionaries all over the world. Depending on the type of work and travel that the retiree wants to do, the possibilities are numerous. Most mission work involves serving underprivileged communities through various activities, including teaching English, presenting religious materials, building homes and other structures, and providing health care. Thus, retirees with previous experience in education, the health care sector or construction have valuable skills to offer as missionaries. In some cases, a church may cover a person's basic travel, housing and food costs, while in other cases the individual is expected to provide or raise his own funds.

There are many reasons individuals chose to give back after retirement. One of the most significant reasons is often the desire to secure a better future for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Many people simply enjoy the satisfaction of being able to share with and help out other people.