Walk into any boardroom or law office, any university or hospital, and you’ll find them: women at the top of their game as they lead teams, build businesses and shape Canadian society. For women currently in their 50s and 60s who are enjoying great career success, this raises an important question: what comes next?

If you’ve dedicated decades of your life to reaching the peak of your profession, the prospect of retirement may be daunting. There is undoubtedly great appeal in having more time for grandchildren and travel, for golfing and gardening. However, after years of directing problem-solving skills and creative energy to tackling challenges in the workplace, some women find there is a need to balance their new leisurely lifestyle with a greater sense of purpose.

If you are preparing for or even just starting to think about retirement, this article illustrates how you can navigate this transition by directing some of your talents and wealth toward philanthropic causes.

Finding purpose in retirement

When it comes time to retire, you may be more than ready to give up the long hours and day-to-day stress that are often part of a full-time career. Yet there may be other aspects of working life that you will miss, such as the joy of bringing a vision to life and the camaraderie of a team working toward a common goal.

Becoming involved in philanthropy is one path to finding purpose in retirement. There is something immensely rewarding about directing time and energy toward making your community stronger and the lives of those around you better. Add in a sense of belonging and the opportunity to add your voice to important conversations and it’s not hard to see why this is a natural progression for those making the transition to retirement.

The manner and extent to which you want to get involved is a personal choice. Philanthropy can mean making a donation to a favourite cause, sitting on the board of a non-profit, offering your professional services to an existing charity, setting up your own foundation and everything in between.

If you prefer to be hands-on, go for it! If you want to offer support discreetly from the sidelines, that’s great too! Striking the right balance for you and your family is crucial for making philanthropy part of your retirement strategy.

The privilege of wealth

Being in a position to help others is a privilege, and this privilege can be amplified by wealth. As women continue to break down barriers and shape their own futures on the back of thriving careers, they are also increasing their economic influence. This is not just a Canadian trend. A 2018 survey of high-net-worth individuals by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) found a similar shift in key economies around the world – including the UK, the US, China and Singapore – with women controlling a rising share of global wealth.

In Canada, the EIU study found that 58% of Canadian high-net-worth women (vs. 48% of Canadian men) plan to distribute their wealth either during their lifetime or equally during their lifetime and upon their death. So what are your plans?

Do you plan to spend your wealth on enjoying your golden years together with family and friends? Do you intend to leave as much as possible to your children? Do you want to direct a significant amount of your wealth to a specific philanthropic cause? What you choose to do with your wealth is entirely up to you. What’s important is that it’s meaningful to you and aligned with your values.

If you have the means and desire to direct some of your wealth toward philanthropy, it opens up a new world of possibilities as you make the shift from career to retirement.

Start with a conversation

The prospect of retirement can be daunting for Canadian women approaching the end of a flourishing career, but so can the idea of becoming involved in philanthropy without a clear understanding of your options for doing so. Where do you start? What’s the best way to make a positive impact? How can you strike the right balance between direct involvement versus behind-the-scenes support?

A good place to start is with a conversation. Speak with your spouse, a good friend or a trusted advisor. Seek out guidance from someone who may have gone down this path ahead of you or is knowledgeable about opportunities in the world of philanthropy.

At Rubach Wealth, we help Canadian women (and men!) gain perspective regarding their options as they shift to life beyond work. If you would like guidance in planning a smooth transition from a successful career to a rewarding retirement, contact us at (647) 349-7070 to discuss how we can help.