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Giving Back To The Community In Your Retirement Years

By Erik Folgate

I was watching the weekend edition of the NBC Nightly News Sunday night, and there was a segment that struck me about a retired physician who started a free clinic for the poor in Hilton Head, South Carolina. This man came to Hilton Head almost two decades ago in hopes of living the normal retirement with plenty of golf, going out to eat, and laying on the beach. But, after a few years, he realized that fully retiring was boring. He saw a need where many of the blue collar workers in Hilton Head could not afford health care. He decided to start a walk-in clinic, and all patients that met the low income requirements were treated for free. The clinic helped take pressure off of the local emergency rooms to treat these individuals and the retired physician found a whole new meaning to his life when he started giving back to the community with his professional expertise.

Are you a lawyer, doctor, dentist, or other professional who could give back your knowledge or expertise to the community? Consider giving free advice or treating the underprivileged. Giving doesn’t always mean shelling out money from your wallet. Giving can also be your time and expertise of a given profession. Imagine if we could pull together more retired attorneys to give free legal advice, more retired physicians to treat people for free, and more retired financial professionals to give free financial advice twice a week. We may not be able to solve all of the problems with poverty in this country, but it would be a start. Retirement doesn’t have to be a time to detach from the world. It can be a time where you actually HAVE the time to give back to your community. My challenge to you this morning is to put together a retirement plan or increase what you put towards retirement so that you may have the chance to find more meaning in your life at retirement rather than improve your golfing handicap.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • David Toomey

    Wow – great story about the Hilton Head retired physician… It’s great to see people giving back who have the means to do so in retirement – a diminishing group. I am always amazed at the notion that u retire to spend your days bashing a small white ball into a cup day in and day out… boring indeed.

    I think baby boomers and beyond have the potential to really change the working landscape… Job shortages will become epidemic in some sectors as we approach 2010. It will be up to various industries to find ways to offer flexible working situations to keep those heading into retirement engaged whether its for an income to augment SS or for free as your example above illustrates.

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