Four Tips for Increasing Your Generosity in Retirement

How to Give Back Without Jeopardizing Your Finances
Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA Thursday, 17 October 2019

Four Tips for Increasing Your Generosity in Retirement

Retirement should be a time of great fulfillment; an opportunity to live the most gratifying life possible, enjoying all that you worked so hard to achieve. For many retirees, charitable giving offers an especially meaningful way to utilize your assets and support organizations and causes you care about.

Of course, it’s important to be smart about your generosity in retirement. The four tips below will help ensure that you can align your assets and your good intentions without jeopardizing your financial health.

1.    Study Up

Unfortunately, fraudulent non-profit activity happens, and even well-known charitable organizations are sometimes guilty of misappropriating donor funds. Before making a charitable gift to any organization, consider using Google and online watchdog databases to ensure the charity is well-run and can account for where their donor dollars go (examples that we recommend to clients include charitynavigator.org and guidestar.org).

You should also consider how you’d like your dollars to be used. Larger non-profit organizations often need donor support to pay bills and fund employee salaries. If you feel good about helping an organization keep its doors open in this way, giving to a large charity may be right for you. However, if you prefer your dollars to be used in a more impactful way, you should consider giving to smaller non-profit organizations in your community.

A word of caution: online crowd-funding campaigns aren’t subject to the same laws as registered non-profits, so it’s best to steer clear of them unless you personally know the campaign organizers.

2.    Become a Volunteer

Many non-profit organizations, especially local ones, need extra pairs of hands even more than they need charitable dollars. If you’ve been looking for part-time work to fill your days and you aren’t concerned about earning a paycheck, volunteering at a non-profit may be a great fit for you.

In addition to providing a needed service to a charity you believe in, you’ll add structure to your days and make new social connections. This can increase your sense of purpose in retirement, and even positively affect your health. Plus, depending on your background and opportunities available, your volunteer work could be more valuable than a cash contribution.

3.    Share Your Knowledge

Over the course of your professional career, you likely honed important skills that others in your community could benefit from. While a formal teaching position at a high school or community college isn’t for everyone, you may be able to tutor on a smaller scale. If you’re a whiz with numbers, for instance, you could be of great help to middle school students struggling with math. If marketing is where you excel, you could offer your assistance to a newly opened business in your community.

Regardless of your area of expertise, there’s bound to be a place for you to share it. Doing so can be a fantastic charitable outlet in your retirement years.

4.    Follow a Plan

Charitable giving makes us feel good – it’s just human nature. However, it’s important that you don’t get caught up in allowing your generosity to force you into a dangerous place financially. Remember, the dollars you give away are coming from the same pool of assets that will pay your bills and keep you feeling secure for the rest of your life. Make sure you know your limits and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ when you need to.

If you’re interested in making charitable contributions in retirement, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your team at Flourish with questions. It’s important to have a plan for sustaining your lifestyle while giving back, so let’s work together on a financial plan that promotes both your generosity and your financial health in retirement.

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About the Author

Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA

Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA

Kathy Longo brings over 25 years of expertise and experience to Flourish Wealth Management. Kathy is wholly dedicated to improving the life of each client and finds joy in making complex matters simple and easy to understand. She excels at asking the right questions, uncovering new possibilities and implementing the most advantageous strategies for success. Playing such a pivotal role in her clients’ lives remains an honor and a privilege. After earning a degree in Financial Planning and Counseling from Purdue University, she began her career at a small firm in Palatine, Illinois where she worked directly with clients while learning to build a viable, client-centric business. Over the years, she gained extensive knowledge and wisdom working as a wealth manager, financial planner, firm manager and business owner at notable, various sized companies in both Chicago and Minneapolis.

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