You’ve made lots of good friends throughout your life and many of them are colleagues. There’s Carl in the corner cubicle, always ready with the latest sports recruiting news. Or, Tim – two offices over – who provides up-to-the-minute weather reports and donuts on Friday. And, let’s not forget Cindy, who regales you every Monday with stories about babysitting her rambunctious grandkids.
If you’re anxious about losing your longtime office associations when you retire, you’re not alone. Sacrificing one’s social network is often cited as a big reason people postpone retirement, even though they’re able to afford it.
Planning now to connect with old office mates post-retirement can help you prepare to take the plunge. If you don’t already have a regular lunch with your work pals, start by planning weekly get-togethers before you leave then continue the tradition after you retire. If you’re the happy hour type, start a rotating TGIF celebration at a local tavern after work once a month.
And, while you’re at it, consider how you might start making new friends before Day 1 of retirement.
Start by identifying how you like to connect with people. Do you like working toward a common goal – such as on a volunteer project – or participating in a competitive sport? Do you enjoy leisure activities like traveling, playing cards or sharing a meal? Are you into social media as a way of connecting with long lost friends or finding out what’s going on in town?
Next, narrow down your interests and make time before you retire to get involved. Take up a new sport or sign up for a class at your local arts center or college. Join a travel club and go on vacations with people you’ve never met. Volunteer at church or a favorite charity. You might even sign up for a dating service or connect with people of similar interests in your town through Meetup.com.
The main thing is to stay in touch with people. Research shows that older adults who feel isolated and unhappy are more likely to lose their ability to take care of themselves. And, people with strong social networks have the slowest rate of memory decline – about 50% less than those who are isolated.
If you’re interested in finding out how prepared and enthusiastic you are for retirement with regards to your Social life (as well as Self-Identity, Health & Nutrition, Personal Relationships and Financial categories of retirement success), take our complimentary retirement readiness assessment today.