The Virtues of Volunteering

To find your niche, focus on activities that pique your interest, and don't overcommit.

Volunteers holding wall at construction site
(Image credit: Getty Images)

My column on fulfilling ways to spend retirement continues to generate inspirational responses from readers, many of whom have sung the praises of volunteering. You also volunteered the names of additional service groups that you have found rewarding. I’ll cite a number of them for those of you in search of a cause that strikes a chord.

Many of your efforts focus on children. After working for more than 40 years as a registered dietician in hospitals and nursing homes, reader Linda Hall volunteers for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, which delivers gift-filled shoeboxes to children around the world. “I am using my marketing MBA and my organizational and people skills,” writes Hall. “Sometimes I think that my training and experience were meant all along to be applied in my volunteer work.”

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Janet Bodnar

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the magazine after eight years at the helm. She is a nationally recognized expert on the subjects of women and money, children's and family finances, and financial literacy. She is the author of two books, Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she writes two popular columns for Kiplinger, "Money Smart Women" and "Living in Retirement." Bodnar is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism.