The Retirement Life Cycle: Go-Go, Slow-Go, & No-Go Years


By Louis Horkan
Reviewed by Nathan Kattner

Table Of Contents

    Retirement is a beautiful stage of life and likely something you are dreaming about one day in the future. This is the time in life where you no longer have to set the alarm, punch the clock at work, sit in dreaded meetings or have a boss tell you work needs to be done on the weekends.

    No, this is the time for YOU – to live out YOUR dreams.

    One common misconception as the retirement years approach, is the different stages you will experience during this exciting time. Many of the retirement years could be filled with good health, stable finances and freedom like you have never experienced before.

    But there is also a possibility as you move through the retirement years, that your health might not be as strong.

    So part of planning for retirement is to not only look at your finances as a whole, but to also approach these years knowing there will be different stages that may change the way you approach retirement primarily based on your health.

    We are going to look at three primary stages that you will experience during retirement – the go-go years, slow-go years and no-go years. The below stages are meant to give a picture of what is normal for most individuals in retirement, but of course there will always be exceptions based on several different factors.

    The Go-Go Years

    Couple runners jogging together in park

    “To me, retirement means doing what you have fun doing.” – Dick Van Dyke

    Van Dyke is so right! Retirement should be filled with doing the things you have most fun doing.

    The go-go years start at the beginning of your retirement until about age 70. These years are typically the most active and where you might plan to do things after you complete your decades of working. One key advantage during this stage for most individuals, is that it will be the most healthy out of any future years.

    This means that this stage of retirement should be full of activities and travel. The go-go years also can include friends in the same age range that could travel with you, stay active at the gym or spend time socializing throughout the week.

    The go-go years will also mean that your spending will be higher due to buying luxury items, marking travel off your bucket list, and overall recreational fun.

    And you should give yourself permission to spend more at this stage. As part of your retirement planning, make a game plan for spending more in the go-go years than in future stages. 

    This stage might also mean playing an active role in the lives of your family, kids, grandkids, friends and taking part in any other active hobbies.

    This time should be filled with making memories both in your own activities and with others.

    The go-go years – what a time of life to look forward to!

    The Slow-Go Years

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    The slow-go years typically start around age 70 and last until about 80 years old. This stage will certainly have some “go” in it, but the level of activity might slow down due to health or the ability to stay active. This is not the case for every individual in this age range, but slowing down is normal.

    Overall spending during this stage will slow down too as there might not be as many trips or adventures to go on as in the previous stage. The slow-go years are still an incredible time to focus on hobbies, outings with friends, and time with family.

    You might not be going on a wine tour in Italy, but you can certainly find some local restaurants you’ve never tried on Friday nights.

    Or maybe the tennis courts are replaced with walking each Thursday with your friends. And don’t be surprised if you have a closer relationship with your doctor during this stage – it is common to spend more time at the doctor’s office to ensure you are staying healthy.

    Emotionally, this stage can also bring some sorrow as it is likely you will start encountering the death of family or friends.

    That can be really hard and will require having a strong support system around you to walk through those losses. 

    Overall, the slow-go years will still prove to be a time of joy mixed with some challenges. Be prepared for what the stage of your retirement may look like both financially and emotionally.

    The No-Go Years

    Character illustration of people with traffic sign icons

    The no-go years typically are age 80 and older. This stage will be the biggest slowdown of any previous stages and is heavily dependent on your overall health. If your health is still strong, you might be able to still keep a level of activity, although it may look different than in previous years.

    The length of this stage is also hard to predict – it could be 5 years or 15 years – it simply depends on the strength and health you maintained in previous stages.

    Living independently during this stage is also something that should be highly desired or if required, taking residence in an assisted living community. 

    Financially, the no-go years will drastically slow down spending around travel or recreation, but increase expenses for healthcare as you have more frequent doctor’s appointments, amounts of prescriptions and other activities to care for your health.

    As you are planning for retirement, it would also be recommended to over budget for long-term care needs to keep up with inflation.

    The cost of assisted living or nursing home care is very expensive and not all insurances cover the costs indefinitely. So plan ahead well for the healthcare and living care needed during this stage.

    The no-go years can also prove to be an emotional time. Men typically have a shorter life expectancy than women, meaning that this stage or a previous stage could also mean losing a spouse or family member. This can be one of the most difficult things to walk through in all of life. 

    The Story of Margerie

    Margerie, a 96-year-old resident of Springfield, Missouri shared, “You always hear people wishing to live a long life, but that is when they are young. Being 96 years old, I have lost my parents, my spouse, all my siblings, a daughter-in-law, a son, and numerous friends.

    It was something I didn’t think much about until it started happening around me. It has been lonely at times and confusing as to why I may still be here.

    I’m so thankful for my close family that helps support me during these losses – that is the only way I’ve been able to get through and live with hope.”

    Margerie’s story can be something you experience if your life is prolonged, so preparing emotionally at this stage proves to be very important for your overall well-being.

    The goal of the no-go years is to continue being active as long as you can, still have fun, stay social, but surround yourselves with family and friends who care for you. This stage will be more about spending time with your loved ones than anything else.

    Live Life To The Fullest!

    Happy friends celebrating event together

    The go-go, slow-go and no-go years are important to understand for the financial approach to your retirement years. Make sure as you plan to allocate funds based on these different stages, knowing it is ok to spend more during the early go-go years.

    It is equally important to fulfill your purpose and desires during these years.

    Don’t put off the dreams you had and experienced you planned for in the early stages of your retirement, as no one is promised tomorrow. Live out your dreams during retirement. Experience the joy these years will bring. Live life to the fullest!

    Article Name
    The Retirement Life Cycle: Go-Go, Slow-Go, & No-Go Years
    Retirement is a beautiful stage of life and likely something you are dreaming about one day in the future. This is the time in life when you no longer have to set the alarm, punch the clock at work, sit in dreaded meetings or have a boss tell you work needs to be done on the weekends. No, this is the time for YOU – to live out YOUR dreams.
    Publisher Name
    Oak Harvest Financial Group
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