Thrive Through All Three Phases of Retirement

The Go-Go, Slow-Go, and No-Go framework is a common way financial planners divide retirement into three distinct phases to understand how financial needs change over time. Instead of using this framework as a financial tool, apply it as an intentional mindset on how you can thrive throughout your retirement. The fact is that everyone will go through each phase as they age. The unknown is when each phase will occur. The trick is to make the most of each. 

Go-Go years: Pre-70 years old

The Go-Go years are for those anticipating retirement or are newly retired. These are your healthiest retirement years. You’ll want to maximize your time by doing what you love. Don’t simply continue to do what you always have done and waste these precious years. 

How to approach: These are your later-in-life “salad days” or, as some refer to them, “being 20 with money.” You have the time and financial resources and are physically and mentally capable. Now is the time to create your bucket list, and depending on when you retire, map out your ten-plus-year plan. 

How to maximize: It’s critical to stay active and fit. Consider doing the longevity workout. Your goal is to make your Go-Go years last as long as possible. 

Guiding principles: Acknowledge that your time is limited. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. 

Motto: Your someday is today. 

Slow-Go years: 70-80 years old

The Slow-Go years are when your body naturally slows down. You need to anticipate that you will not be able to do the same things you did in your 60s and in your late 70s. You may be tired and achy, but don’t give in to the inertia. These years can still be filled with social activities and fun adventures. 

How to approach: Modify your Go-Go activities for less impact, Slow-Go activities. For example, if you love backpacking, modify it to inn-to-inn hiking, where you can shorten the walking distance and sleep in a bed at night. 

How to maximize:  Stay on top of your health maintenance and heed your doctor’s advice. If you need a joint replacement, get one. Continue to stay as active as you can. Your goal is persistence to stave off your No-Go years for as long as possible. 

Guiding principles: Doing something is better than doing nothing. 

Motto: If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. 

No-Go years: 80 years old +

As much as you try to prevent it, there will be a time when you simply cannot do the scaled-down things you did in the Slow-Go years. Ideally, you have planned for the eventual decline in health and the need for possible long-term care.

How to approach:  This is a time to invest in life-long learning and hobbies. Accept the cycle of life and embrace your mortality. If you have a spiritual practice, invest in it. 

How to maximize: Keep a positive outlook and be optimistic. Focus on what you do have. Connect with friends and family consistently.

Guiding principles: Enjoy the little things in life.

Motto: It’s a life worth living.

Remember, everyone ages at a different pace, and the age ranges provided are guidelines. With lifespans extending to 100 years and beyond, make the most of your Go-Go, Slow-Go, and No-Go years. 

Throughout the “The Nuts and Bolts” section of this blog, we will introduce you to the practical needs in retirement. 

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