How to Apply Your Work Expertise in Retirement

Retired professional women can improve their community by volunteering and mentoring others.

Leaving the workplace behind in retirement doesn’t mean abandoning all of your professional skills and know-how. Instead, retirement can be an opportunity to share what you’ve learned, as well as some of your time, to make a difference.

Once in retirement, you can spend more time on issues you’re passionate about outside of the workplace, such as giving back to the community, says Anna Rappaport, an internationally recognized expert on the impact of change on retirement systems and workforce issues. Rappaport recommends using your business knowledge to help other people or organizations. Here are several ways you can make a positive impact:

Volunteer for Professional Organizations

Stay involved during retirement by volunteering for organizations in your own profession. Rappaport’s work as a chair for the Society of Actuaries’ Committee on Post-Retirement Needs and Risks has allowed her to be a part of various research projects. “I have helped frame the projects and published several articles for publications, including Benefits Magazine and Benefits Quarterly, about the committee’s work,” she says.

Mentor Young People

Think about how you can help young people just starting out in the workforce. Rappaport suggests becoming a mentor and offering career advice to those looking for pointers on how to jump-start their careers.

Rappaport recalls having a conversation with a young woman about becoming an actuary. “I explained that it’s important to choose a college with good internship opportunities,” she says. “If students have access to good internships, they will be more likely to get that first job upon graduating from college.”

Volunteer for Community Organizations and Nonprofits

You can also make a difference by helping community organizations and nonprofits. You can volunteer with local arts and business councils or offer your services to the community through an association of volunteer business counselors.

For example, Rappaport volunteers and gives presentations on various issues for a Women and Aging task force connected to the local Bar Association. “When they want to learn about subjects that I have a lot of knowledge in, like employee benefits and pensions, I welcome the opportunity to educate, provide insight, and answer questions,” she says.

Consider Independent Consulting

You can also offer your expertise through independent consulting. For example, you can consult with midcareer professionals on how to balance work and family issues or how to move forward in their careers.

Working after retirement will not just benefit other people; it can also help you stay active and engaged on a schedule that fits your new lifestyle. Watch this video on reinventing retirement to help you see the possibilities in your future.


This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Information provided and statements made by employees of Regions should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation. Information provided and statements made by individuals who are not employees of Regions are the views, opinions, or positions of the individual who made the statement and do not necessarily reflect the policies, views, opinions, and positions of Regions. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented.