Before You Retire

For a lot of people, one of the unspoken reasons they hold off on retiring relates to their fear of being lonely. Here are some tips to become more connected.

Fact Checked by

Taylor Hegna, CFP®

Before you retire…Step 1

In our last blog we looked at three tactical considerations prior to stepping out of your career and into the “what’s next” of life. When preparing for retirement, it’s this type of thinking that typically dominates our conversations and planning. But, there are some other key pieces to the puzzle that need thoughtful consideration. 

Where’d everybody go?

If you are anything like most people, you have formed a lot of strong relationships with your co-workers over the years. For many of us we have spent years and even decades working alongside the same people. You have played in softball leagues together, watched each other’s kids grow up, seen your company grow and shrink together, shared lunch breaks, coffee breaks, and maybe even company trips!

You name it!

Every day you have had those relationships to connect with and, to be honest, there wasn’t a ton of effort needed to connect and maintain those relationships. They were simply part of the regular routine of working life. But what happens when the everyday rituals of work come to an end?

For a lot of people, one of the unspoken reasons they hold off on retiring relates to their fear of being lonely.

The CDC actually states, “Loneliness and social isolation in older adults are serious public health risks affecting a significant number of people in the United States and putting them at risk for dementia and other serious medical conditions.”1

Many people will turn to social media to help them navigate loneliness. While this can be helpful for maintaining existing relationships and even fostering new ones, there is also a danger in using social media to provide community. 

Recent studies by both Harvard2 and the Cigma Health Insurance company3 showed that extended use of social media as a supplement for real life interaction actually increases the sense of loneliness a person may be feeling. 

Isn’t it crazy that the very thing that was designed to connect us can make us feel more disconnected. Although technology can help supplement, it still does not replace the power of true authentic connection. 

If that is the case, then what should we be doing? Here are two quick tips…

1. Create routines to foster in person relationships from former employment

The people that you have spent years growing in relationship with likely don’t want you to fade out of their life either. But as with most things in life, it takes intentionality to make things happen. So ask yourself the following questions. 

Who are the people from my current or previous job that I desire to maintain a relationship with?

How did we relate to each other over the years?
Do we have common points of interest?
 Heck, that interest could just be that you both enjoy happy hours. 

Have I let them know I value the relationship and want to make sure we continue our friendship?

I’m not sure if you know this…but as human beings we can be a little insecure at times. Sometimes simply affirming that you value another person can have a far more dramatic effect than you think. Letting people know that you value them and want them to remain a part of your life is especially important during times of transition. 

2. Look for new interest groups to provide in person interaction

With Covid restrictions loosening, there are increasing opportunities to gather together again. That means an increasing opportunity for connection to both your local community and extended community.

Extended community is the idea of connecting with people who may not live directly near you but an interest group could bring you together. For a lot of us we don’t know where to start. We may have some of the baseline things we like, but we don’t know how to dig in necessarily. 

To help you get started, we have a Passion & Interest Inventory that can help you organize your thoughts. It will help you get started in sorting out what you may want to be involved in going forward.

Although these two tips are a great starting point for transitioning into the “what’s next” of retirement, they are indeed just the starting point. In our next blog we will expand on the major relationship changes that coincide with this life transition.

Have a Question?

Do you have specific questions about your next life phase? How can we help?