As you shape the foundation of your retirement vision, cultivating your personal relationships is another vital building block.
A social life that includes healthy relationships is important to your mental, emotional and physical health — particularly as you shift from working or raising a family (or both) towards your retirement years. While retirement may still be several years off, now is the time to plan for how you'll maintain relationships with family and friends and make new friendships.
Think about before and after
The social circle you have now may look different once you retire. Your retirement plan should consider that evolution.
For instance, think about where you plan to live in retirement. If you want to downsize and move to a different city, that could affect your family relationships and friendships since you won't be able to spend facetime together as often.
Moving could open the door to new friendships too, but making friends can take time. If there's a specific city you want to retire to, consider researching things like how many retirees currently live there and what types of social activities are available to support building connections.
If you stay where you are, you'll have the flexibility to continue spending time with your family and existing friends, plus you'll still be able to open the door to new friendships by volunteering or staying active in other ways.
Technology offers a solution
Staying in touch with the people you care about most in retirement doesn't need to be complicated. How you approach it depends on what you see as the biggest obstacles.
With a move to a new city, the biggest challenge is distance. Technology makes overcoming this challenge easier.
Social media, email, texts, instant messaging and video chats remove some of the barriers that distance creates. Speak to your family members and friends about their preferred method of communication and how often you'll stay in touch. Will you use group texts or messaging? Assign specific days of the week to chat?
Technology can also make it easier to make new friends. Joining local Facebook or LinkedIn groups, for instance, is a way to connect with other retirees and people with shared interests or professional backgrounds. Many local libraries have great courses to help you become more technologically savvy.
Manage the costs of staying connected
Using technology to stay plugged in has its advantages, but it's important to nurture family relationships and friendships face-to-face. However, there's a financial side to consider.
Relocating, for example, means you may have to travel more to visit family and friends. By discussing these goals with your financial advisor, you'll be confident that travelling expenses are part of your retirement budget.
Budgeting matters closer to home, too. If you're assuming a hobby will boost your social connections, how much might that cost? What about other social get-togethers?
For instance, if you want to host a weekly game night with friends at home, you could make it a potluck and have guests contribute a dish or a bottle of wine. You get the pleasure of everyone's company, which is priceless. And equally important, you can enjoy family and friends without worrying about it taking a toll on your retirement savings.
There are a lot of exciting decisions to be made and new experiences to embrace as you transition into retirement. Your social life and who you surround yourself with should be given the same thoughtful considerations as your financial well-being.