Volunteering in the Community

While Retirement presents many opportunities, none is more varied or demanding on your “free” time perhaps than community service.  It can take the form of volunteering in soup kitchens, local animal shelters, schools, or whatever else that requires well-intentioned people and an inexpensive pair of hands (usually many of them).  Another option, especially for retirees that are not in their communities on a regular basis, is to work with organizations.

In my case, I am on the Board of Directors of our condominium association.  As with all Boards, there are advantages, such as knowledge of how decisions are made that impact your finances and your community life. It is the Board which makes the budget decisions, including association dues, assessments for improvements and maintenance, amenities available, and the schedule for projects in the development.  The Board, however, can be impacted by the relationships within the building/community including owner cliques, professional rivalries, differences in social interests, and “pet projects” of one group or another.  The Board may also become the complaint department for every gripe anyone has.  The key is to have the complainers affiliate with the Board mission and become active in the fixing of problems.

Remember though that volunteering can absorb your time to the point of a full-time job.  It is important to balance these opportunities with the reality of how you initially wanted to spend your retirement time.

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