The Importance of Friendships as We Age


As a younger planner, I remember hearing planners older and wiser than I counseling clients to think twice before making the decision to leave their lifelong homes and communities upon retirement to move near children in a distant state (or country).  Despite that advice, many clients still think the best move as they age is to be nearest children (and grandchildren). 

However, they often regret that decision for a number of reasons:

  • They find their families have their own lives to live and just don’t have the time to spend with them that they thought they would (spending time with “Mom and Dad” is not a priority);

  • They may find that their children decide to relocate again, and then they are left in a location that they are unfamiliar with and have no family or community to call their own;

  • Most importantly, they find that they truly miss the friends and community they spent years building.

Several conversations in client meetings recently have confirmed to me the importance of longtime friendships in the lives of older adult clients.  Friendships are especially important to those who have been widowed; it seems that family members provide support immediately after a death, but once they have a need to go back to their normal routines, it is friends that provide the emotional and social support that help widows get through the next months and years that are most difficult.  And for many older adults who have attempted to move away and start friendships in unknown communities, they realize that it is their longtime friendships that they truly value and miss (and sometimes find themselves wanting to come back to in older age).

Studies by the National Institutes of Health show that maintaining friendships and staying socially active are key components to a happy, healthy longer life.  Making the right decisions about where to live and near who are key decisions for quality of life and part of your retirement planning.  If you have not yet had these conversations about YOUR future retirement plan, contact your financial planner today.

Sandra Adams, CFP® , CeFT™ is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.

This information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. Opinions expressed are those of Sandra Adams and are not necessarily those of Raymond James.