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After the Career March, You Can Play a New (Charitable) Tune

Posted March 2020

Everybody says that Al is a work-a-holic. He’s the first to arrive at the office and the last to leave. He rarely uses all of his allotted vacation time. Not surprisingly, he is the most productive member of his division, and he ranks at or near the top of all of the company’s performance metrics. Although he rarely thinks about it, at some point Al’s career march will slow and stop. He is now like a party-goer who could dance all night, but eventually the musicians will put their instruments in cases and leave. 

The question is what to do when the music stops and the party ends, when you must leave the job that has defined you and given you a life purpose. The answer may be to change your tune—to charity.  

If you retire at the age of 65, on average you will have 20 post-career years. If you are blessed with good health and keep working another decade or more, you may still have 10 or 15 active years after retirement. This is a phase of life when many people step up their volunteer activity and make the decision to establish a legacy by supporting charities through their estates. 

Approximately 60% of individuals aged 55 and older volunteer for charities in all kinds of capacities. Last year they provided about eight billion hours of volunteer services, and the value of this activity is estimated to be about $200 billion. Many charities simply would not exist except for their volunteers. The music may wind down and stop as far as a career is concerned, but volunteering is like composing a new tune using the wisdom acquired from past work. 

The post-retirement years are not only a time to be useful through volunteering but also a time to plan one’s legacy. Al did both during the last 15 years of his life. He served as a volunteer leader of the capital campaigns of two favorite charities, and he engaged in estate and gift planning with the same energy he had spent in his successful real estate investing business. The result was an estate plan that provided amply for loved ones while also creating endowments at five organizations (including ours), each of which embodied one of his key values. 

The music changed for Al, but it did not stop. The music of work gave way to the music of volunteering and legacy planning. And that music yet lingers through what he created.  

We appreciate the support you have provided us in the past. If we can assist you in your own gift planning as you transition to the legacy phase of life, please contact us today.

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