By:  Vincent Birardi, CFP®, AIF®, Wealth Advisor as featured in Crain Currency 

There is little in life as noble as periodically suspending the seemingly endless pursuit of our own self-interests to serve others who perhaps are less fortunate.

Contrary to popular belief, donating your time and/or financial resources need not be an entirely selfless exercise. It’s perfectly OK to use such opportunities as a way to also benefit yourself and your family. It can, and frankly should be, mutually beneficial. An astounding 96% of volunteers reported that the action enriched their sense of purpose in life, which can also offer both mental and physical health benefits.

Volunteering with family members is a great way to instill a sense of gratitude for one’s blessings and inspire others to give to those in need. Doing so serves as a tangible affirmation of a family’s value system. Many high-net-worth individuals and families are visible pillars within their respective communities because they have proactively chosen, often over multiple generations, to give back to those in need. As a certified financial planner, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing several clients and their families take the initiative to volunteer their time together at annual events such as holiday toy drives and meal preparation and delivery at local food banks. Such family gatherings have the power to not only instruct younger generations on the importance of giving back to others but also can foster and reinforce appreciation in younger children to be grateful for what they have.

When it comes to volunteering your time, another powerful benefit comes from the sheer activity of networking — meeting new people — possibly in your current career role and/or industry. If you so choose, you can also talk about your volunteering activities with colleagues and clients or include your passion for giving back in your company’s marketing materials, such as in your corporate bio. Don’t forget: The time you spend volunteering for an organization is not tax-deductible, but expenses such as travel or parking costs may be.