Whether you’re retired or have chosen to work well after 60, there is plenty you can do with your free time and extra buck.

Volunteering and Donations

I recently spent some time at a zebra fish laboratory at Georgetown University Medical Research Center in Washington, DC. There I learned that these amazing little fish have a genetic code that matches about 70% of the human DNA! They even have a gall bladder – while mice do not!

Because of incredible similarities, the zebra fish are being used in research for Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, and other auto-immune diseases that impact our lives especially when we reach the age of 60.

In my time at the lab, I got to cull some of the fish embryos and prepare them to be used in testing tumor cells’ resistance to certain chemo therapies. Needless to say, the experience was fascinating.

It’s curious that zebra fish lay hundreds of eggs per day, and within 48 hours you have a little fish that is ready to break out of its “shell.”

The neat part of the research is that various treatments and testing can be done, with results being available in as little as 5 days! The research center holds many fish tanks with 50 – 75 adult fish in each. These are used in the testing of various treatments for a variety of diseases.

If you want to learn more about the zebra fish, check out this film that won an award at the Cannes Film Festival this past year for short documentary films.

Our Legacy

I usually write about financial issues in retirement and felt that part of how we spend our time and money for the benefit of others is a core principle in our lives outside the workforce.

I like to invest my resources in doing something that can impact not only my life in retirement but also the lives of my children and grandchildren. Leaving a legacy does not always have to be about money. Many times a legacy of values may have a greater impact over the long term.

In light of that, I like to take my grandkids to do service projects as part of my local Rotary Club. We provide food for a local family shelter, and, every other month, we go and help prepare it and serve it to those who visit the shelter.

The grandkids really enjoy doing this and many times have conversations with the families that are there. Most of the clients are friendly and very appreciative of the food we bring, especially when we have been able to get a restaurant to provide a well-cooked meal.

Time to Evaluate Your Expenses

This time of year, when we are doing our income taxes, we have time to reflect on how we spend our money in retirement. I find it helpful when gathering the tax data to go back and review where all the money went!

With the help of annual summaries from credit card companies and various cash flow reports from banks, the job has become much easier. However, there is always the “black hole” of the unknown expenses we have difficulty identifying.

I think that the amount in the black hole used to be almost 10% of income. With the enhanced cash flow tracking tools available now, however, it has shrunk to about 5%.

This gives us an opportunity to have a conversation with our significant other and gather a good understanding of the available income resources and where monies are being spent.

I am a firm believer that if you have a partner then both of you need to have a good understanding of your household’s financial circumstances.

In my line of work as a financial advisor, I have often dealt with clients whose surviving spouse was the less well-informed financially. It was always a major challenge to help navigate them through the financial maze they suddenly found themselves in.

So, I like to keep things simple in my family by sitting down with my wife and looking at the monthly recurring expenses (required) and then the variable expenses (voluntary). We seem to find that having grandchildren often turns the variable expenses into recurring ones!

What legacy do you want to pass down to your children and grandchildren? What are some of the core values that you wish you could pass down to the next generation? Do you have any special interest organizations where you volunteer or make monetary contributions to? Please share in the comments below.

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