How can you maintain a social life in retirement?

Posted in: Wellbeing Last updated: 17 Aug 2015

Retirement can signal a time of transition, as many aspects of your life begin to change. With the prospect of more free time, many see this as the perfect opportunity to try out new hobbies or travel somewhere different, while meeting old friends - and making new friends - along the way. We'll take a look at how you can truly take advantage of retirement, and the benefits it can bring to your social life.


With plenty of groups and charities out there looking for a helping hand, there are so many opportunities to volunteer in your local community and beyond. If you're looking for inspiration, The OneFamily Foundation helps to fund community projects across the UK, from children's trusts and elderly support groups to community gardens and swimming pools. Why not contact a project local to you, and see if they need any additional support?

For further inspiration, try contacting your local council or take a look at websites such as Do-it.org and volunteeringmatters.org.uk. If you’re unsure as to how you might want to volunteer, these organisations among others will point you in the right direction. From placements in the health and social care sector to volunteer roles at your local food bank or wildlife conservation centre, there are many ways in which you can do your bit for the community and make friends along the way.

According to Volunteering Matters, which runs its own volunteering programme aimed at over-50s, loneliness and isolation are reduced by 95% for those who volunteer, and 93% are less inclined to stay at home, which indicates that many who volunteer maintain or improve their social life.

Stay active!

Once you reach retirement, it's fairly likely that you'll be eligible to apply for a discount at your local leisure centre. Why not take this opportunity improve your fitness levels, check out the classes available and make friends as you go? It's worth finding out what the terms and conditions are regarding a discounted membership before you sign up, as centre regulations may vary.

There are, of course, plenty of other social activities you can take part in outdoors, and many are free. Running, cycling and walking clubs are becoming increasingly popular, and although some may charge a small fee, others are cost-free. Joining an active club or society is more than likely to help expand your social circle, as well as improving your overall health.

Travel around

Now's the time to make the most of travelling across the UK as several providers offer discounts, helping you to reduce the expense of taking public transport. If you have friends and family dotted across the country, take advantage of the discounted transport available and make a visit. The Senior Railcard is available to purchase for £30 and gives you one-third off many rail travel fares for a year if you're over the age of 60.

Alternatively, the older persons bus pass gives you access to free travel on local buses, making it that much easier on the purse strings, and helping to lower the cost of socialising.  In England you can apply once you've reached state pension age, and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland you can apply once you've turned 60 years old. If you're a resident in London and of state pension age, you may be eligible for the Freedom Pass, giving you free access to trains, buses, tubes and trams across the capital.

There's a whole range of fascinating places to discover, from poets’ homes and museums to sculpture parks and buildings of historic interest. For a one-off cost, the National Art Pass offers a year's membership for free or discounted entry to a number of museums, galleries and other attractions across the UK. If you don't want to explore on your own, generally there are tour groups for many UK attractions, or you could consider joining a local interest group.

Dig a little deeper and you'll find there are plenty of ways to maintain and even improve your social life in retirement. Are you active on social media? If not, take a look at our Guide to Using Technology to Keep in Touch. There are lots of simple and fun ways to stay in touch with friends and family on a regular basis, so give it a try!

Seize the moment and use your retirement as an opportunity to have an active role in your local community, explore new places, make new friends, or simply to see more of your family. What are you waiting for?

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial adviser about your own circumstances.