There are almost 50 million Americans over the age of 65. They control greater assets and have a higher net worth than any younger generation. This is also the group that is shifting their focus from income creation to asset preservation, retirement and a more relaxed lifestyle. They frequently increase their giving and volunteering, providing great benefits to their communities and to themselves.
The Denver Post reports in the article “On Philanthropy: Giving in the last third of life,” that older Americans are the most generous generational group in the country. Those born before 1964 are responsible for almost 70% of all charitable giving.
Research found that retirees who give, are more likely than their less-generous counterparts to report high levels of happiness and a sense of purpose. Many older adults volunteer their time to help other people or a specific cause. They report:
- A greater sense of well-being (89%);
- Less stress (73%);
- Better physical health (68%);
- Better emotional health (77%);
- An enriched sense of purpose (92%); and
- More happiness (96%).
Volunteering can also delay mortality among older adults, according to a Stanford University study. You’ll live longer!
Those who are considering philanthropy should ask themselves these important questions:
- How much of my net worth is needed to adequately take care of myself and my family for the remainder of our lives?
- How much money do I want to leave for my children?
- How do I want to be remembered and what’s my legacy?
- What difference do I want to make in the community, while I still can do so?
- What are my skills that might be useful to others?
- How do I want to share and express my values with my children and their children?
- What’s my passion?
- What philanthropic efforts could help me to achieve a greater sense of significance?
Prior to volunteering, look into the nonprofit’s need, safety and training to assure an experience that benefits both the volunteer and the organization.
For those in who are able financially, charitable activities in the last third of life can have great meaning and value.
Reference: Denver Post (April 15, 2019) “On Philanthropy: Giving in the last third of life”