Today, many look at their so-called “golden years” as an opportunity to redefine themselves by creating a more purposeful retirement – learning, working and volunteering – as well as an active, fulfilling social life. That last part is vital to a happy and healthy retirement, maybe even as important as financial independence.
The benefits of staying social go beyond the emotional aspects of keeping busy or entertained, according to research from the Yale Medical Group. In fact, staying social can improve your physical health as well. An active social life can lead to lower risks of heart problems and high blood pressure, fewer incidences of cancer, and deter osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Perhaps most important, it strengthens connections in your brain, lowering your risk for Alzheimer’s and mental health issues. Social interaction is important at any stage of life, but it can be particularly significant and life-affirming when you’re in your 60s, 70s and 80s. During retirement, will you rely on family for company? Your current friends? Neighbors? Will you have to widen your social circle as friends move closer to family or into retirement communities? If you’re looking to find “birds of a feather” in your retirement years, consider some of these suggestions:
Volunteer your time and talents to hospitals, animal shelters, schools or libraries. You’ll likely meet fellow retirees and make a difference at the same time. As an added bonus, a study published in BMC Public Health shows that volunteering may improve mental health and help you live longer.
Places of worship and coffee shops are great places to meet people from your neighborhood or community.
As long as you’re careful not to reveal too much personal information that could open you up to fraud, social networking may be able to connect you with like-minded individuals. There are plenty to choose from, including Facebook and Meetup, which allow you to find and join groups based on a shared interest, career or hobby.
Consider joining a travel club geared toward fun-loving retirees. Vacationing with peers, who may literally be in the same boat as you, is a great way to meet new friends with similar interests. Let your advisor know of any excursions or expenses that may impact your overall financial plan.
Take a yoga or aerobics exercise class during the day. Many yoga studios and health clubs have classes geared toward the fitness needs of older adults. Even walking around your neighborhood or gardening can create opportunities for you to introduce yourself to others.
Material created by Raymond James for use by its advisors. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the fore- going material is accurate or complete. Raymond James is not affiliated with any other entity listed herein. ©2016 Raymond James & Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC.
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