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  • Writer's pictureSteve Crawley

Can having three good friends promote a happy retirement?

Jesus was in the people business. He lived and ultimately died for people. His ministry centered on serving people. The abundant life He came to offer is not found in money or the things of this world but in relationships with people. As we work toward building our Future Funded Ministry, we should work even more diligently to build friendships. In so doing, research indicates that our retirement years will be much happier and fulfilling.

Recent studies show that even two or three close friendships can have a positive effect. The challenge is that friendships are harder to maintain these days. Social media lets us keep in touch, but it can also be a facile, arm's-length substitute for the quality time we spend together in person. Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow who studies longevity data in different cultures, writes in his book Blue Zones that Americans average 1.7 close friends today, compared with three in the 1990s. Wes Moss, a financial columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, contends that the happiest retirees have an average of 3.6 close friends (he has been researching retiree friendships for a book of his own). At financial news websites, articles sometimes warn retirees that when they walk away from the office, their daily social "safety net" will disappear and they will feel alone. While these warnings may make for good clickbait, they discount the fact that some of our closest friendships involve people we don't work with. Two, three, or four good friends may make our retirements feel that much richer.

Source - Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 2, 2021

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