Helping Others and Helping Yourself

Well one of the interesting issues that future young retirees have to consider is how to fill up those extra 2000 hours a year that used to be work.  The trick is to find the balance between relaxing and doing something meaningful to ensure a happy life.   If you go too far either way you tend to find yourself becoming bored or unhappy.

One common method of filling up that time is helping others.  You see your time is likely the most valuable thing you can give another person.  So any help you give others is typically deeply appreciated by those who understand that fact.

Now you don’t have to help others through a formal organization, which is often a common misconception.  You can give back to those around you in completely informal setting.  Help out the neighbour with a building project or give your family a hand looking after their kids once in a while.  Giving out help often results in help coming back to you when you need it.  For example, friend of mine were down for the weekend and I mentioned that we were going to be putting in some hard wood this week in the living room.  So without even asking for it, I got a hand moving out the furniture and then pulling out the carpet.  There was no exchange of money or IOU’s but rather an understanding that as friends we just help each other out.

Now the trick to helping others and helping yourself is making sure you do work for/with people that respect the value of your time.  So how do you know your being respected? Well that varies a bit, but here are some general rules:

  1. You don’t want to get involved with people that constantly take without ever giving back.  It’s a dead end game where you can’t help but be disappointed.
  2. Make sure that people understand the limits of what time you can give to them in advance to avoid confusion and hurt feelings.  I once helped out with a deck project, but warned the group in advance I could only give them two days of my time due to prior commitments.  It saved some potential misunderstandings about me not wanting to help rather than just not having the time to help much.
  3. You should hear at least one “Thanks” or “Thank You” for what you did.
  4. If people offer to help you without being asked, it is good side they will respect your time as well.  Make sure you do it to others as well.
  5. If you felt good after helping someone else, likely they respected your time.  If you think “Why did I bother?” then likely that is a red flag about helping that person again in the future.

But you know the greatest thing about helping others.  You don’t have to wait till your retired to get that satisfaction and happiness.  You can help others right now with some of your time and enjoy the benefits from now all the way to your retirement party.

3 thoughts on “Helping Others and Helping Yourself”

  1. Awesome post.. one of the things that makes me feel most excited about retiring early is that I’ll have time to do lots of things for lots of people.. I do take your point though that there’s no reason we can’t do more while working.. it’s just harder when a lot of your best energy goes into your job..

  2. Pingback: helping others

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