Hoping to feel happier in retirement? Forget about yourself and do something for others.
Retirees who volunteer are more likely to feel happy compared with those who don’t, according to a recent survey of thousands of retirees by Age Wave and Edward Jones.
The survey found 64% of retirees who volunteer describe themselves as happy. By comparison, just 54% of retirees who do not volunteer feel that way.
The survey found other apparent benefits from volunteer work during retirement. Among those who volunteer, 62% feel resilient, compared with 51% of non-volunteers.
Volunteers (60%) also are more likely to describe themselves as purposeful compared to non-volunteers (46%). And while 55% of volunteers say they feel healthy, just 41% of non-volunteers do.
Of course, none of these findings directly show that volunteering causes these positive feelings. For example, it is possible that people who are happier simply tend to volunteer more.
However, numerous studies have found links between volunteerism and better mental health.
So it’s a pretty safe bet that getting out and doing good for others is likely to be a big plus for those who perform the good deeds.
Of the seniors in the survey, one-third volunteered at least semi-regularly at some point, either before retirement, in retirement or both. Another 42% said they are open to volunteering as a way to improve their quality of life.
However, 46% of retirees say it is difficult to find volunteer opportunities that interest them.
Age Wave and Edward Jones offer those considering volunteering the following suggestion:
“If they are not already volunteering regularly, pre-retirees should consider doing so in preparation for retirement. They are more likely to continue volunteering after retiring, and they will have an easier transition to finding renewed purpose in retirement.”
For more tips on getting the most out of retirement, check out “Life After Retirement Is Going to Be Great (If You Are Truly Ready).”