Feeling excited, overwhelmed or unsure about retirement? Start a retirement club!We all need help with our retirement plans but very few of us turn to friends for that support. A retirement club — kind of like a book club where you discuss retirement topics instead of novels — can provide an ideal and friendly forum for helping you have a more secure future.
Peer pressure can actually be a really good thing!
- Have you ever teamed up with a friend for work outs and seen better results from the camaraderie?
- Has networking helped your career?
- Did you ever get great tips and support for raising kids on the playground after school?
Talking about important issues with friends can calm you down, provide alternative viewpoints and even help motivate you.
Your retirement merits this kind of support. Retirement is a huge deal and too many of us go it alone.
Furthermore, research into financial literacy has found that your peers can have a huge impact on your success. If your friends are engaged in planning their finances or retirement, then you stand a better chance of being successful as well.
A fairly large percentage of retirees experience a drop in well-being after retirement. According to researchers, between 10-24% of retirees feel stressed in the years following their departure from work.
A study by researchers at the University of Queensland followed nearly 1000 people over six years, looking specifically at their quality of life. The researchers found that people who maintained involvement in clubs or groups after they had retired were less likely to die.
More specifically, the study concluded that, “Retirees who had two group memberships prior to retirement had a 2% risk of death in the first 6 years of retirement if they maintained membership in two groups, a 5% risk if they lost one group and a 12% risk if they lost both groups.
Furthermore, for every group membership that participants lost in the year following retirement, their experienced quality of life 6 years later was approximately 10% lower.”
Starting or joining a retirement club may be just the answer. (Though any club — golf, gardening, coffee, road rally, anything — will work. Scientists recommend that retirees join in any activity that facilitates meeting and mingling.)
This will be a personal decision, but you will want to select people with whom you are comfortable discussing at least the broad view of your financial situation and your future goals. (The thing to remember is that most people are struggling no matter how they might appear. In other words, we all put on our pants one foot at a time…)
When choosing who to invite, you might ask yourself:
- Do I only want people who I think have finances like my own? Or, will it be more educational if the club has a diverse group?
- Do I want close friends I see often, or acquaintances or both?
- All men? All women? Or, mixed company?
- Ages? Do you want everyone around your own age or might you benefit from people at different stages of retirement?
- Common careers? If you are a teacher or are in a profession where you receive a pension, decide if you only want other people with pensions or not.
- How many people do you want involved? A big group can inherently offer more ideas and diversity, but discussing topics is easier with fewer people.
The “who” is probably the most important aspect of your retirement club. However, there are a number of other logistical considerations. Where do you want to meet? How often? What time of day? Will you serve food or drinks? How long will meetings go? Can you do a Zoom meeting?
To get started, you might want to keep the invite list to around 5 people and meet in your home over a snacks and a drink. This type of casual environment can make the conversation easier and you can grow it from there if you like.
Other ideas for meeting places include: restaurants, coffee shops, hiking, or a community center room. The important thing is that everyone feels comfortable and at ease.
You might even consider a virtual retirement club — start a forum.
You could start a private Facebook group for your group. (Or, join the NewRetirement Facebook group for wider discussions.)
As the organizer of your retirement club, you’ll want to lead the first meeting — or appoint someone else to do so.
Before everyone arrives, think about the agenda for the first meeting. Do you want it to be about organizing the club, or do you want to get started discussing your retirement plans.
If you want the first meeting to be organizational, then you’ll want to discuss:
- Who will lead the club meetings? Will it rotate or always be one person?
- Will you vote on an agenda or discussion items for each meeting? Or will that be at the discretion of the leader?
- What do the attendees want to get out of the club?
- What topics would they like to see discussed?
- Should all meetings follow a pattern? A good regular agenda might enable everyone to share and comment on a prechosen topic, then you discuss a common theme — article, book, guest speaker, etc…
If you want to make the organizing decisions yourself and dive in and start discussing retirement at the first meeting, then maybe you can have a series of questions that everyone has thought about and can go around the room sharing their perspectives. Good topics for a first meeting might include:
- What are you most worried about in retirement?
- What are you most excited about in retirement?
- What do you wish you knew more about?
- What are your goals for retirement?
- What do you want out of this club?
Once you have met once or twice, you’ll have a better idea of what everyone wants out of the retirement club.
Here are a few ideas for ongoing meetings.
Investments: Bring in an investment advisor. Many will probably do this for free in the hopes of winning clients, but try to find a Certified Financial Planner — they are required to offer advice based on your needs not based on the commissions they might receive.
Start the meeting with all members sharing their own (or researching a) favorite piece of investment advice.
Retirement Manifesto: Have everyone write down their own retirement manifesto — a declaration of what they want out of retirement.
Discuss how you can support each other in achieving your goals.
Create a Retirement Plan: Have everyone use a reputable retirement calculator and bring in their results. Share what you discovered is good and bad about your plan and brainstorm how to improve everyone’s future. (Check back to see if the ideas generated in the meeting yielded better calculator results.)
- The NewRetirement Retirement Planner is an easy to use but extremely comprehensive tool that would be ideal for this activity. It has received many prestigious awards.
Medicare: If you are all eligible for Medicare, you might want to schedule a meeting about your supplemental coverage options during the open enrollment period every fall. Have different people research different types of plans or bring in an insurance expert to answer everyone’s questions.
Long Term Care Options: Long term care is ridiculously expensive. And, long term care insurance is not affordable for most people.
So, what are you supposed to do?
Passive Income: Everyone wants more income for retirement, but we don’t necessarily want a job. Passive income is an income stream you receive without putting in much work. Passive income allows you to earn money without the grind of a job.
If everyone in your group knows each other fairly well, have each member think of potential passive income streams for everyone else based on their knowledge of the person’s interests and assets.
Housing: Where you live is a huge lever for having a secure retirement. Housing is usually your most costly expense and most valuable asset.
Assign members to research different retirement housing options and have everyone report to the group about the pros and cons of options like: reverse mortgages, retirement communities, retirement abroad, downsizing, house sharing, tiny houses and more.
Get Creative Night: Have everyone research and bring in the most creative strategy for having a secure retirement.
Vote for the best idea.
Political Activism: There are a lot of issues being discussed in Washington D.C. that impact retirement. Devote a meeting to debating these topics or writing letters to your Congress people.
Book Reviews: Does your group enjoy reading? Select one of these books about retirement or aging to discuss together.
This list could go on and on… There is so much to discuss.
Email us if you start a club. Let us know how it is going and ask us any questions you might have.
Our award winning NewRetirement Planner is always available for use.
And, if we get enough demand, we are happy to provide an online forum so you can do a virtual online retirement club. Let us know if that is of interest to you.
Let us know anything we can do to help you achieve the retirement you want to have. We suggest you get started by sending this article to your friends and scheduling your first retirement club meeting.