‘Tis the season of giving and we’re reminded about the people we care about the most as well as those who are less fortunate than ourselves. It’s great that the holidays act as a placeholder for these things, but the fact of the matter is that we should always be thinking about what’s most important in life. To that point, one of the wonderful parts of retirement is that it gives us time and resources to help people. In fact, studies show that retirees in America will donate eight trillion dollars over the next twenty years! That breaks down to six and a half trillion dollars in cash, and fifty eight billion hours of volunteered time valued at another one and a half trillion dollars!

Today, retirees contribute 42% of all donated money and 45% of all volunteered time. Maybe it takes longer in our lives to realize what’s most gratifying. Universally, giving makes people happier than receiving. It’s nice to see trends like these today with the super-rich giving larger amounts of their fortunes to enrich the lives of less fortunate. It really is, and should be, a measure of our success.

Regardless of your participation in charity and volunteering, we should congratulate ourselves for being the most philanthropic society and generation in history. We probably don’t get the credit we deserve, but let’s keep it up. Let’s also be aware that now is the time to make sure that you’re taking your full tax credit for what you have been so generous to give this year. You deserve it and it will help you to continue on your charitable ways.