Help Clients Launch their Next Act

Older clients set on a new job or activity may require guidance but should do most of the research themselves.

By John Comer
John Comer
John Comer

It’s great to hear when a client approaching or already in their retirement years has identified their values and a goal for the second half of life. It could be a new job, career, business, volunteer opportunity or hobby. Perhaps it’s something similar to what they’ve always done — or it could be completely outside their wheelhouse.

Once a client identifies a new pastime or kind of work that interests them — either paid or volunteer — that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. They may still require help finding:

  •  Additional training for the activity.
  • Organizations or groups for networking, or people to join them in a group activity.
  • Sources of job leads.
  • Sources for volunteer opportunities.

As an advisor, you can step in and make a big difference. With a little creativity and networking on your part, you should be able to identify some local resources for your clients.

You may be able to track down additional training at your local public schools, community colleges and universities. Retailers who sell equipment often will sponsor or have a bulletin board where people can learn how to use the equipment. The University of Minnesota has a Senior Citizen Education Program (available for age 62 and up) that offers free classes for audit and drastically reduced fees for credit courses.

For example, if a client wants to play the clarinet in an orchestra, you can help them find an orchestra. For other hobbies like birding, they may not require a local organization but joining an organization may make it more fun. Being around others that share one’s interests provides positive reinforcement.

If Google does not work, you might try retailers or educators in the client’s area of interest to identify groups. When I was studying Spanish, my instructor told me about a group meeting weekly in a coffee shop to practice their language skills.


The best way to uncover job leads is networking. Your client can also uncover leads through the local office of the state economic development or employment agency, through college placement offices and through outplacement/recruiting firms. Professional associations also may have postings. After your client finishes with these postings, they can go to job posting boards.

With volunteer opportunities, you can help a client directly contact appropriate organizations. United Way and local community foundations may also be able to connect your client with nonprofit organizations or list specific volunteer opportunities. In my city we also have a nonprofit whose mission is to match volunteers with organizations.

Endless Opportunities

Lorraine and Paula joined a couple of not-for-profit boards when they retired. Tom and Ron increased their focus on photography and fishing, respectively, when they left the full-time workforce. Bill signed up to use the woodworking equipment at the local high school and joined a group of woodworkers that train new members and work on a few joint projects.

Jill goes to mass four or five times per week and presents the readings once per month. Doug has found a couple of financial literacy nonprofits and he presents on finance topics to high school students. Peter, a retired CFO, became a Trustee for his church. Jim has created a prototype for a new product he thinks has tremendous potential for manufacturing.

As I mentioned in another column for Rethinking65, helping clients find activities to fulfill a purpose may require you to provide some direction. You may even have to do some networking and legwork to provide that direction. However, the detailed work should ultimately be up to your client. Help them get on the right path and let them take it from there. They could surprise you — and themselves.

John Comer, CFP®, is a financial advisor with Twin Cities-based McNellis & Asato, Ltd., which offers financial planning and investment advisory services through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. He is a coauthor of the forthcoming book “Joining the Longevity Revolution: For Advisors and Clients,” which is expected to be in print later this year. He can be reached at 952-548-3134. Any opinions are those of John and not necessarily those of Raymond James or McNellis & Asato.

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