Make Volunteering Your Pre-Retirement Plan

I hear you want to retire next year but you’ve been dragging your feet. Putting it off because you aren’t sure what you’ll do? Talking about it with your co-workers could be sort of awkward. The last thing you want to hear is, “I wish I had your problems.” Make volunteering your pre-retirement plan.

How about doing a short-term volunteer project now to see just what might interest you later? That could be your solution.

Being able to afford to retire is typically a huge concern but often one of the next big worries about retiring is how to fill the time.   If you’re thinking the answer is to keep working because you don’t know what you’ll do with all that free time, then try out a volunteer project. This isn’t the time to make a commitment but it is time to experiment.  Try out several activities and see if anything catches your interest.

Not sure of where to find an activity? Check out VolunteerMatch to find posts from local organizations in your area looking for help.

Other ideas:

  •  If you routinely donate to a cause, give them some of your time;
  •  Check to see if your employer supports a foundation or charitable project, see if someone can put you in touch with a volunteer coordinator;
  •  Are you a reader? Offer to help your library with a book sale;
  •  If being outdoors is your thing, help out with a 10k or walking event in your community.

My previous employer encouraged employees to support the community by offering paid volunteer time. It was a wonderful benefit and I did everything I could to encourage co-workers to volunteer.

One of my favorite projects was organizing an activity that involved reading to kids at a nearby elementary school. Eventually our reading time transitioned into playground time, art time AND reading time. After participating in that volunteer project, I was hooked on helping kids with reading and volunteered as a tutor when I retired.  It was a wonderful way to find a volunteer activity that sparked my interest.

The more you can do to prep for retirement by figuring out what interests you, the more you’ll look forward to it. Consider a volunteer project now to help you find an activity that you’ll want to do once you stop dragging your feet and do retire.


People of all ages struggle to live a more meaningful life, but the struggle to identify a meaningful retirement is very real. Working with a certified retirement coach can help you frame what’s important to you and how to work towards it in order to find a meaningful life in retirement. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your journey and how we can help.

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