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.