When you retire, you don’t just stop working. For many people, you lose your social connections, your daily routine, and possibly your feeling of purpose, but there are great opportunities to stay active and socially engaged with a little planning.
In your last two to three years of working, you may want to test some of your potential interests to see if you enjoy them. It may be an opportunity to deepen your relationships outside of work and build new ones that can grow with your new interests into your retirement years.
For some people, retirement means finding a new place to live. What sounds better, quiet country setting, the hustle and bustle of the city, or a 50-plus community. Before you pack up the house and move, it may be worth testing your preference to make sure reality can live up to your expectations. If you are moving to a new community, you may want to consider a few vacations to the area, attend a church or community group to build connections and make new friends before you relocate. Making new connections may also be necessary even if you remain in the same home. Your current connections may continue to work or plan to relocate when they retire. Maintaining social connections is important for your overall health and happiness.
A great way to build new connections and explore new interests is to plan social activities or join clubs that can teach you the new interests and provide a community who share similar interests now and when you retire. Some experts have suggested that starting this before retirement provides the flexibility to decide what you really enjoy. Developing your interests early will help to build healthy habits in retirement while also improving mental and physical health. As you think about what you would like to do or where you would like to live, it’s also a good idea to see if your retirement budget will support your aspirations. Hobbies such as yachting may be out of reach for some retirees while gardening or tennis may be well within your resources. As a PERA member, you can log into your account and see an estimate of monthly income in retirement or attend a webinar on your retirement benefits to see if your planned hobbies will be possible or if additional savings will be needed. By exploring your interests and understanding the associated costs while you’re still working, you have options. Testing new interests may also help avoid moving to a part of the country that has weather you hate or investing in a hobby that was more of a fad than a lifetime interest.