Many people spend a good chunk of their working years yearning for retirement. But one thing a lot people fail to realize is that work offers value beyond just a paycheck.

Work can be a good way to foster social connections and stay physically active. It can also keep you mentally sharp. And while the main purpose of work, for most people, is to bring home a paycheck, there's another financial benefit to be gleaned.

When you stay busy without having to spend money

Work is a fairly inexpensive way to stay occupied. Sure, you might spend some money on attire and additional money on your commute. But for the most part, you're getting to stay busy for what could be eight hours or more a day without having to spend hundreds of dollars in the process.

A group of smiling people, with one holding cans.

Image source: Getty Images.

It's for this reason that so many retirees wind up blowing through their savings once their careers wrap up. The harsh reality of retirement is that it can be boring. People who don't do well with downtime might struggle in the absence of having a job and the structure and routine that goes with it.

And if that sounds like you, you should know that retiring could mean spending down your savings pretty quickly.

Let's say you manage to retire with $1 million. If you find yourself spending hundreds of dollars each week just on leisure and entertainment to fill your days, you might quickly run out of money when you factor in the cost of your many essential expenses on top of that.

It's for this reason that it pays to look at volunteering once you retire. A recent Edward Jones survey found that 42% of retirees and 62% of pre-retirees would consider volunteering to improve their quality of life.

Now you may be thinking, "If I need to keep busy in retirement, why wouldn't I just work?" And you could certainly go that route, especially if you have financial concerns.

But for some people, the simple idea of having to work in retirement is unappealing. After all, this is supposed to be your post-work period of life. So if you'd prefer a way to stay busy that doesn't involve work or feel like work, look to volunteer for an organization that means a lot to you. That could mean walking dogs at your local animal shelter, running food drives at your church, or tutoring low-income children in your neighborhood for free if you have the skills to do so.

Not only might you find volunteering to be a good way to spend your time, but it might open up different social connections that work wonders for your mental health. And strong mental health could lead to better physical health, and lower healthcare expenses as a result.

Keeping busy is such an important thing to do in retirement, but you also need to do so in a manner that won't eat up all of your money. Volunteering is a great way to do something important with your time, so it's an option worth considering once you're ready to stop working for good.