Friday, April 2, 2010

Go-Go, Slow-Go and No-Go

Walter Updegrave is one of my favorite columnists at Money Magazine. He has an interesting article on the three stages of retirement. These are catchily characterized as Go-Go (meaning the first stage of retirement where volunteering, maybe part-time work, traveling, etc. are high priorities), Slow-Go where staying home more often becomes attractive and less exhausting, and, finally, No-Go, where health concerns for oneself or spouse may to put limitations on retirement activities.

Updegrave does a nice job of setting out the financial issues at each stage, though he provides no real answers. I get that. Just what we will personally face in retirement is too unpredictable for there to be a "one size fits all" formula.

I have a particularly hard time trying to forcast my retirment future.

My plan is to retire at age 69. I hope, of course, that my health will be generally good throughout my sixties and seventies. But I do have to be realistic. I'm diabetic and I've already had major heart surgery. There is a good chance I won't be a really active retiree. On the money side, that could mean less expenses for travel. But perhaps more for health care?

Or, given the very real possiblity of health issues, will I want to travel a lot and do more during my first years of retirement, in anticipation of a more sedentary lifestyle becoming necessary?

And what about my home? If I keep my current residence, which is ten minutes from the urban center, with three different bus lines nearby, will I have to spend money retrofitting the home? I probably will, given that my house has three stories. My parents bought a home when I was a teenager that had been remodeled specifically for the prior owner's wheelchair-bound wife. It turned out to be great as my parents aged because everything was on one floor, there were grab bars everywhere, and the kitchen counters and shelves were accessible. (My parents were both short, and greatly appreciated the lowered shelves even while they were perfectly healthy.)

Once I reach the No-go stage, comfort is going to be my highest priority. Plus there is the possibility of long term care.

All of which requires differing amounts of money.

So much to think about and plan for.


velvet jones said...

What an honest, thoughtful look at retirement. I'm trying to convince the boyfriend that when we live together, we should buy a ranch house. That way it will be easier for us to get around as we get older, and/or when we get sick. But for some reason, he really, really wants stairs. Ugh.

Grace. said...

I kinda get where your boyfriend is coming from--I grew up in ranch style homes, so I very much wanted the 1929 three story home with all sorts of french doors, coved ceilings and handmade tiles that I got. Of course, I was 43 when I got it--now at age 61, I can see that maybe stairs aren't always the answer!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this article. It's good to think about retirement potentially being in three phases.

We do plan to sell our current two story condo when I retire just because of the mobility issue as we age.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I work at an assisted living place.....most of my charges are the no go--everything comes to them. You have to be thoughtful about retirement. I see that in my aging times I feel overwhelmed with all we have to plan for...I am 47! I enjoy your web site. You seem very practical and level headed in your thought processes. You give me great encouragement.

frugal zeitgeist said...

Every time I've looked at property I've had a good, hard think about stairs because of my parents. I bought a place without them primarily so they could visit freely, but also so it would continue to be liveable for me. I'm young, but my hips joints are shot and I'll need both of them replaced at some point in the not-too-terribly-distant future.

Thanks for this look at the different stages of retirement. Lots to think about.

MasterPo said...

Assisted living places are VERY expensive.

A place like Sunrise Assisted Living can cost $65,000/yr!!