Contributing to the Community After Retirement

Louis Chenevert, on the Board for the Yale Cancer Center

Taking a closer look at potential post-employment contributions, with a case study on former UTC CEO Louis Chenevert.

After spending 30 years of working, retirement is like a beacon off in the distance. It is something we all strive to get to someday. Hopefully, the day will come when when you are able to retire from your job. Whether retiring at age 55 or ten years later at the age of 65, we are all left with decisions to make when it’s time. Louis Chenevert knows this well.

The first decision is deciding if you have enough money to live after retiring from your job. Most likely you have acquired a decent retirement payout from social security, your 401k, or some similar retirement program. Hopefully, all of your major expenses are paid off. No more mortgage or car payments will make your monthly retirement checks last even longer. Although many people do it, most would rather not have to get a part-time job during their retirement years if it was at all avoidable.

The next decision is about what you are going to do with all of your new found free time. Most retirees spend more time with the family. They try to re-establish relationships that might be struggling from not having much quality time to spend together in the past. Another focus for retirees is usually on their hobbies. They either spend more time on them or even start brand new ones.

However, one thing that more men and women are doing once retiring is contributing to the overall betterment of society. It is quite a commendable thing to do. Working 30 years and then helping out with the community around you. There are many ways to accomplish this in case you are considering doing the same thing.

Volunteer at a School

If you just entered retirement, there is a good chance that your kids are all grown and you haven’t stepped foot into a school for quite awhile other than to see a grandchild’s play or concert. But here is the deal, schools are tragically underfunded. Classroom aides are mostly a thing of the past and the only adult in the room is the classroom teacher. With class sizes sometimes reaching up to 30 students in a room, it is easy to see why this could be a hectic place. If you are a retiree and would like to spend time in a classroom assisting a teacher and students, schools will love to have you. Plus, you will be able to dictate your own hours and if you would rather just spend your time at certain grade levels. One of the best parts is that the students will remember you for the rest of their lives with a special place in their heart just for you.

Work with an Animal Shelter

Most animal shelters survive off donations from ordinary people. The money goes towards the facility, heating and cooling bills, and the food and keep of the animals. An area that people often forget about is the amount of cleaning that goes into keeping an animal shelter looking nice. Also, volunteers are constantly needed to walk the animals and feed them. If you enjoy spending your time around animals, this could be a perfect place to spend a few hours a week. The animals will love you, and there is always the chance that you may just adopt one down the road.

Using Your Expertise by Being on a Board

Louis Chenevert had just retired from being CEO and President of United Technologies Corporation (UTC). UTC is a major player in the aerospace industry. He had spent six years there increasing business and exploring new opportunities to further use technology. During his time there, the company had reached new highs with their stock shares. At the beginning of Chenevert’s tenure in 2008, a share of UTC stock would have cost $37. At the end of his reign in 2014, the stock had increased to $117 a share. It seemed everything Chenevert touched grew money and spread its wings.

Louis Chenevert took his leadership ability and knowledge on raising funds and put it to good use. He became the Chairman of the Center’s Advisory Board at the Yale Cancer Center (which we’ve written about!). Louis Chenevert had previously been on the Yale Cancer Center’s Advisory Board for ten years before accepting the position of chairman. His hope to help families battling cancer has extended well into his retirement years.

The Yale Cancer Center Director’s Advisory Board is a group of volunteers who act as informed advocates for the Center. This includes providing information to interested parties and creating fundraising activities to financially support the Yale Cancer Center. It definitely is a worthy cause to focus on in retirement for Louis Chenevert and a good way to use his connections to raise money for the Center.

There are numerous boards in every community that could use retirees’ expertise. The knowledge and wisdom that comes from older people can prove to be invaluable for all involved. Their guidance and ideas can lead the way during troubling times. Volunteering for a hospital board, a school board, or the city council are all ways to stay active in your community during your retirement.

Build a House

Building a house may not be in your skill set, but through churches and several other organizations you are able to volunteer to help in the process. These houses are built for families in need either here in our country or, after a little bit of travel, in other countries. If you have a background in carpentry or woodworking, your skills will be needed. If you used to be a plumber or an electrician, you will be in demand. Even if you have only swung a hammer once or twice in your life, there will be other things you can do in the process. Just because you are retired does not mean that you cannot do things to better the world around you. Sometimes people need to be reminded that they are only as old as they feel, and retirement is an opportunity to add another couple chapters to your life.

About Erica Smith 261 Articles
With several years in the medical field—both as a practitioner and an administrator—Erica has a unique perspective on the health industries. From medical technology to cancer research, she covers our health industry.

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