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How to make new friends is a big concern for many expats retiring abroad. The good news is that a survey by the National Academy of Sciences, which included more than 340 000 participants, found that being over 50 is a time in your life when the levels of stress and worry decrease and your feelings of happiness and enjoyment increase, which means that making friends becomes a lot easier. Here are some tips to help you with the process.

1. Go online

There are many digital sites devoted to getting people with similar interests together. Websites like meetup.com will help you connect with people who have similar passions to yours – whether it is gardening or dog walking. Other good sites for retired expats are overfiftiesfriends.com and over50sforum.com

2. Share your skills

Do you have skills that you can share with other people? This could be anything from English to carpentry. Consider whether there is a demand for your experience in your new hometown and consider teaching. Not only will you meet many more people, but you will also earn some extra income in the local currency.

3. Join clubs

Clubs are another great way to meet like-minded people. If you are religiously inclined ask at your local religious establishment if they have regular clubs that you can join. Check out local noticeboards in supermarkets and libraries and look online. A walking club is a great place to start. Not only will you be getting fit, you will also be seeing more of the countryside in your new city and will be meeting people at the same time!

4. Attend language classes

If you have retired to a country with a foreign first language, then language classes are a great place to meet people in a similar situation. Here you will meet other expats and you will brush up the local dialect.

5. Join a dance class

There have been numerous studies that show that learning to dance in your later years not only improves your agility but also keeps you mentally fit.  If you’re staying in Spain – where better to learn how to dance the Tango? Whatever country you are retiring in, there are bound to be dance classes – from ballroom to traditional dance. Not only will you have a great time learning a new skill, but you’ll also make new friends.

6. Consider going on a cruise

Cruises are great places to meet like-minded people – and if you are leaving for your cruise from your home city, there is a strong chance that you will be mingling with many local people who you can stay in touch with when you return.

7. Treat yourself with your retirement annuity

Now that you have retired, you have plenty of opportunities to do all the things you have ever wanted to do. What’s more, if you have a South African retirement annuity – you can easily access it abroad, even before you turn the age of 55! Your retirement annuity funds can be used for anything abroad – from travelling to entertaining to investing.

At FinGlobal we have helped thousands of South Africans living abroad cash in their South African retirement annuities so they can make the most of their retirement abroad. To find out more about how we can assist you with this process, contact us today.