Social: Among the 10 Elements of Retirement Success

We all get by with a little help from our friends. In our experience, nurturing a supportive social circle is one of our 10 elements of retirement success. This article aims to help you assess your approach to socializing in retirement and set some meaningful goals.

At a recent breakfast meeting, a former executive shared a surprising finding about his recent retirement. After leaving his corporate job, he soon realized most of his friends were connected to his former career. While he used to be booked for lunch once or twice a week, those friends were still working. And his weekends suddenly became empty—after 20 years at the office, he had little contact with his former colleagues.

Many people quickly realize that their social network shrinks considerably once they leave the workplace. But there are solutions. If you are preparing to retire or have just entered retirement, here’s how we suggest you begin rebuilding a social network:

Find the place

Start by learning where people take part in the activities that interest you, such as golf, cooking, travel or reading.

Develop your ability

Next, just as you built a career, allocate resources to improving your skills in any activity you’ve chosen. If you’ve decided to learn to be a gourmet cook, sign up for cooking classes and invest in new cookware. The personal interaction from a class may lead to new friends who share your interests.

Push yourself

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. One of the greatest regrets many people in retirement express is wishing they had taken more chances in life. For some, that may be skydiving. For others, learning a new language and taking a trip overseas.

Set social goals

Once you’ve decided on a new activity, set some specific social goals. For example, if you join a book or wine club, get to know some of the members by asking one or more to dinner once a month. Keep it up, and a new social network is bound to take shape.

Still stumped on how to get started? We recommend taking time to simply reflect on what will matter most to you in retirement by considering the following questions:

  • What groups would I like to join? Your answers here can help you narrow down your interests.
  • Why haven’t I joined? Are there hurdles in the external environment, or are they related to your internal dialogue?
  • What would I like to learn? Thinking of this as a learning challenge can help you find meaningful rewards and deepen your motivation.
  • What would I like to accomplish? Whether you want to develop a robust social circle or just find a tennis partner or two, this question might help you set realistic goals.

We work with many retirees who were successful in business and are looking for the same satisfaction in retirement. By growing and maintaining their social network, they can attain much of the personal fulfillment they had in business. A social network impacts so many elements of life. We believe it provides a sense of belonging, a purpose and increased self-worth. At the same time, it may improve your mental and physical health while reducing stress and expectations on you and your family.

Here’s a quick exercise that you may find helpful:

  1. Write down your current satisfaction with your social life on a scale of 1 to 10
  2. Now write down what you would like that score to be one year from now
  3. Finally, write down the top three things you can do to raise your score

Friendships can help us, inspire us, challenge us and keep us connected to our communities.


Continue to explore each element of retirement success:

  1. Work
  2. Family
  3. Home
  4. Growth
  5. Leisure
  6. Social
  7. Giving
  8. Money
  9. Aging
  10. Health


Charlie Jordan, CPA, CFP, CeFT

Charlie Jordan, CPA, CFP, CeFT

Partner, Wealth Advisor

Charlie is a Partner, Wealth Advisor in our Atlanta office. Previously, he led the Retiring Well Practice Management group at legacy firm Brightworth. Charlie focuses on helping clients think differently about retirement, integrating the technical and personal sides of money. Charlie is a CPA, CFP® practitioner and Certified Financial Transitionist (CeFT). He is a graduate of the University of Florida and received a Master in Accountancy from Kennesaw State University.


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