If you ask most pre-retirees to describe their vision of a successful retirement, you would likely hear words such as family, friends, hobbies, and travel. You would likely NOT hear someone express a desire to be alone and inactive.
Research shows that individuals who experience isolation and inactivity are much more likely to be diagnosed with depression, memory and other health-related problems. One such study conducted by Lisa F. Berkman, an epidemiologist at Yale University, found that people who were not connected to others were three times as likely to die over the course of 9 years as those who had strong social ties. Even more interestingly, the same study found that those with strong social ties and poor health behaviors lived longer than those with poor social ties and positive health behaviors.
An expanded version of retirement planning is needed to look beyond income distribution planning and investment policy statements. Planning to maintain vital social connections, whether they are family members, friends, church members, dance partners, etc., seems to be just as important to success in retirement as the stability of your investment portfolio. So as you or your loved ones plan for retirement, think about exploring activities and hobbies, groups and clubs, and consider living arrangements for all of retirement, including early and later retirement.
Contact your financial planner to develop a retirement plan that includes all aspects of your financial life, especially the all-important social connections.