Each December, the UN marks International Volunteer Day. And with 862 million people volunteering worldwide each month, there’s plenty to celebrate.
With the festive period upon us, you might be looking for a way to give something back this Christmas.
Keep reading to find out more about the volunteering options open to you and how you might fit this new venture around your plans for a phased retirement.
Phased retirement is on the rise as retirees back away from the traditional cliff-edge
A Legal & General (L&G) report published back in November 2022 found that almost half (48%) of working over-55s were planning to take a staggered approach to leaving work.
Of those over-55s still employed in some capacity, more than a third (34%) have already started reducing their hours and handing over responsibilities. That amounts to around 3.3 million pre-retirees already preparing for life after work.
As we head into the same period this year, you too might be considering a phased retirement.
There are several financial and non-financial advantages to a scheduled withdrawal from the workplace – rather than the traditional cliff-edge. You can continue to contribute to your workplace pension, for example, and it can also provide continued social outlets and support your emotional wellbeing.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these benefits.
3 benefits of a phased retirement
1. You can continue to contribute to a pension and potentially help make up a shortfall
Phased retirement allows you to start your retired life while still contributing to a workplace pension.
If you reach your chosen retirement date but find you have a pension shortfall, working for a little longer in a reduced capacity can be a great way to make up that shortfall.
The contributions you make will still benefit from tax relief, but you’ll need to consider whether the benefits you’ve accessed elsewhere might trigger the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA). The MPAA increased from £4,000 to £10,000 for the 2023/24 tax-free, greatly increasing the tax-efficient contributions you can make.
There’ll be other tax considerations to consider too, so be sure to speak to us before you decide that phased retirement is right for you.
2. Phased retirement provides structure alongside increased financial wellbeing
Financial wellbeing is about much more than the money you have.
Yes, it’s about having a regular income, a financial safety net, and long-term savings and assets. But it’s about your current and future happiness and helping you to attain your goals too.
A phased retirement can be a great way to provide structure while you transition into life after work. If you have had a long career in a role and industry you know inside-out, stepping back from that can be a huge challenge.
This staggered approach to retirement allows you to step away gradually, maybe using your acquired knowledge to train the next generation, or in a consultancy role.
You might find, though, that the clean break is what you need. In that case, working part-time or volunteering in an area that is completely new to you could be just the challenge you need.
3. Being part of a community and giving something back
Volunteering is a great way to become part of a new community while feeling good about yourself and giving something back.
There are plenty of charities in need of volunteers in all areas of their organisation. You might give your skills or time for free on the front line of a homeless shelter or in a back-office admin or marketing team.
Either way, you could find that the end of your working life is the start of an exciting new chapter.
Use your skills and experience to help a worthy cause and people in need this Christmas
Homeless charity Crisis is currently advertising for volunteers for the busy festive period through their Crisis at Christmas initiative.
These voluntary placements include everything from chefs in homeless shelters to arts facilitators, entertainment officers and digital support officers. While Crisis is based mainly in London, they have centres around the country and there are plenty of other charities with volunteer positions open nationwide.
And you don’t need to limit your volunteering to the Christmas period. If you have skills to pass on, you’ll likely find charities looking for people to teach those skills.
From Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) to arts and crafts workshops and even mentoring roles, your experience is valuable and highly sought after.
One particularly challenging role – that becomes increasingly important at this time of year – is answering phone lines or live chats at charities like Samaritans or Childline, which are always on the lookout for qualified volunteers.
If this isn’t for you, remember that you can always donate directly to charities, or use your skills to sell crafted gifts or organise fundraising events on a charity’s behalf.
Get in touch
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The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change and their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor. Workplace pensions are regulated by The Pension Regulator.