What’s the key to a happy retirement? Is it a big trust fund or a country club membership? While having enough money to fund your retirement lifestyle is certainly a factor, there’s a host of data indicating that when it comes to happiness in retirement, money isn’t everything.
One researcher from American College of Financial Services identified three pillars to a happy retirement: money, health, and social well-being. These pillars give retirees the foundation they need to live a vibrant, fulfilling, and stress-free retirement.
Much like the assets in your personal retirement plan, relationships are an investment. They require an ongoing commitment of time and resources which will pay off in the long-run. If you’re approaching retirement, a little effort to maintain relationships now will benefit you in the future. If you’re already retired and you’re looking to rebuild your social circles, meet new people, and get out more, here are ten tips to help you make new friends in retirement.
How to Make New Friends in Retirement
1. Take a Class for Adults
Following your passion is one of the quickest ways to find people you have something in common with. Whether your hobby is cycling, painting, or classic cars, take the next step and find an event, class, or hobby group. For retirees in Denver, classes for adults include everything from language learning to brewery immersion. [You can also choose to teach a class...read Tom's story on his Sightings Over Sixty blog.]
2. Small Group Travel
Even if you didn’t enjoy group tours or all-inclusive travel when you were younger, they may have new appeal now. Most of your transport, reservations, and meals are taken care of, plus pre-planned itineraries and a group of fellow travelers to share memories with. Of course, you’ll want to find a travel company geared towards seniors (or at least not aimed at partying college students)
Love it, hate it, or never been on it, Facebook can be a great place to keep in touch with people from all areas and all eras of your life. The platform has a robust Groups section where you can connect with people virtually based on similar interests. To find in-person activities, use Facebook’s Events Section. Clicking on the Events tab on the left side of your Home page will show a list of public events going on in or near your location.
Meetup.com is a free digital service you can use to find local events and casual meet-ups. With over 56 million users worldwide, Meetup.com is the place to go to connect with people who share your interests - and there’s a whole section just for seniors! You can easily browse groups in your area (like seniors groups in Denver, for example) but you need to register for an account to join a specific group or event.
5. Get a Pet
If you like animals, owning a pet can be a great way to meet people and stay active at the same time. Dog walkers routinely meet neighbors or find themselves striking up a conversation with strangers. Going to the dog park is another way to make new connections - plus your furry one gets to make friends too! If you can’t or don’t want to permanently adopt, volunteering at an animal rescue or participating in temporary foster programs can be equally meaningful and rewarding.
6. Serve Your Community
Getting involved in your community is a great way to enrich your life in retirement - and meet new people. Many retired and semi-retired folks find joy and purpose by volunteering their time and expertise to causes they care about. The experience puts you in direct contact with other volunteers, members of the organization, and in some cases, the individuals you are helping.
7. Look Outside Your Age Group
Hanging out with people younger than you is good for the brain. It keeps you connected to new trends and technologies and exposes you to new ways of doing things. Retirees who interact with people of all ages, especially young children, consistently say they have less stress, anxiety, and depression. So, why not offer to babysit the neighbor’s kids after school? Or bake something and take it to the young family down the street.
8. Dating Sites
Online dating has become extremely common in the last 20 or so years. For retirees who are divorced or widowed, the idea of dating again may be exciting, scary, or a mix of both. If you’re looking to get back out there or maybe meet that special someone, there are a number of online dating sites specifically for older singles, like SeniorFriendFinder and SilverSingles. And you never know, a date that isn’t “the one” could still end up becoming a friend.
9. Utilize All of Your Relationship Circles
Although you may not realize it, you’re supported by rings of people with whom you share varying degrees of intimacy and connection. If you think back to the close friendships in your life, they often began as classmates, co-workers, gym buddies, or acquaintances from church.
By recognizing the importance these “outer circles” can play in your life, you open yourself up to more joy and appreciation, not to mention a greater chance to evolve your current relationships. It’s possible your new friends are already in your life, just waiting to be discovered.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Make the First Move
For some of us, striking up a conversation with a complete stranger can be intimidating. But new friends aren’t just going to come to you - sometimes you have to put yourself out there and make the first move. Many people are craving connection, but they’re scared to take the first step. So, compliment someone’s outfit or ask how their day is going. Invite someone to coffee. Be willing to try new things or even start your own group.
Financial Freedom is a Pillar to a Happy Retirement
While you’re busy building the retirement lifestyle of your dreams, don’t lose sight of the financial picture. Only when you’re on stable financial footing can you focus on building relationships and filling your social calendar.
The right financial advisor will help you hone in on what’s important for you in the retirement years, then build a plan to help you get there. They’ll take everything into consideration including your:
- Current financial situation
- Tax implications
- Target retirement age
- Financial goals
- Retirement lifestyle goals
A comprehensive financial plan helps you identify your destination so you can get there faster (and plan for any bumps in the road). All of that means you can have more fun and live without stress in retirement.
For the book that prepares you for both financing your retirement, and actually enjoying it - get Retirement Secrets.