It turns out community involvement can help lead to healthy financial habits.

Time is money, even if you’re not earning — a survey of 10,000 Americans says volunteering pays off financially.

Almost half (48 percent) believe networking and support from a neighborhood encourages money management skills, according to Mutual Life Insurance. Forty-one percent say financial support is the reason they take part in their community.

“What truly built this nation over the years was people from all walks of life coming together to create a better, more secure life for themselves, their loved ones, and their communities at large,” says Dennis Duquette, president of the MassMutual Foundation. “That same spirit remains very much alive, as so many clearly recognize that we do get back what we give.”

Most people don’t believe it, but numbers don’t lie

Despite the fact that most (80 percent) people don’t see a direct connection between community involvement and their finances, those who are involved fret their finances less.

The more confident Americans are in their financial well-being, the more likely they are to place importance on community involvement, the study says. Compare and contrast…

Not involved in their community

Feelings about their current finances

  • 45 percent: anxious
  • 29 percent: comfortable
  • 12 percent: confident

 Feelings about their future finances

  • 48 percent: anxious
  • 28 percent: comfortable
  • 11 percent: confident

Involved in at least five types of community service

 Feelings about their current finances

  • 34 percent: anxious
  • 44 percent: comfortable
  • 20 percent: confident

Feelings about their future finances

  • 38 percent: anxious
  • 38 percent: confortable
  • 22 percent: confident

Those who volunteer are less anxious and more confident about their finances now and for the future. Now, it might be that people with better financial situations have more time to volunteer. But others say there’s more going on here.

How does community involvement improve your finances?

Though it may sound a little strange to some, investing your time and even your money in your community can come back around.

Trent Hamm, founder of personal finance blog The Simple Dollar, has previously pointed out how this can help your finances.

“I’ve slowly been getting more and more involved in local community events, including local politics,” Hamm writes in The Simple Dollar. “For many people, this seems incredibly boring: I go to city council meetings, school board meetings, and all sorts of other community events. To me, though, it reaps real financial dividends in a number of ways beyond the altruistic ‘helping the community’ attitude.”

He writes of “nine financial reasons for getting involved in your local community.” Let’s just focus on the top four…

1. Networking opportunities

Hamm has had “countless opportunities to meet people to promote his consulting business,” he writes. By attending local events he’s been able to meet new potential business clients and pass out business cards.

This is something anyone can do, and can be a great way to spread the word about what you do for a living. Who knows, a better job may be waiting for you at a local community event.

2. Perks

If you have a small business and might need a location to house a meeting, what better place to do so than somewhere that’s cheap or even free? Hamm’s been able to use community buildings, according to The Simple Dollar.

Aside from that, anyone like saving money on food? Community groups put together a lot of events where offering a free meal is a way to bring people together.

3. Influencing local government

A local city hall meeting isn’t typically exciting, but those who attend have their voices heard on how the city spends money. Let’s not forget that money is from taxes paid by all of those in the community.

Many feel too busy to attend or have better things to do. If you feel that way, it could change your mind to know that little amount of your time can save you big.

Hamm said he saved money by speaking up to the City Council and objecting to their vote on using different building materials for sidewalk maintenance than what was already in front of his home, he writes in The Simple Dollar. This allowed him to save money he would’ve spent had the proposed bill gone through.

4. What comes around goes around

One thing Hamm mentions also stands out in Mutual Life’s study: When you help those in need, they’ll do the same when your time comes.

Over half (53 percent) of Mutual Life’s study say they have supported someone in their community, and a fourth have been supported by others in their community during a time of need.

“I’ve been involved with several community events to benefit specific people in need,” Hamm writes.  “I now know that if I were ever in a perilous situation, the community would reach out to me as well.”

Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of Debt.com.

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money management, time management

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Article last modified on March 26, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Working For Free Might Help Improve Your Finances - AMP.