The writers at Kiplinger’s sometimes talk about retirement in three phases: the ‘go-go’ years, the ‘slow-go’ years, and the ‘no-go’ years. The phases relate to how capable people are to travel, take on new hobbies, and lead an active lifestyle.
They break out the ages like this:
⁃ Go-Go Years: Ages 65-75
⁃ Slow-Go Years: Ages 76-85
⁃ No-Go Years: 86-100
It makes sense when you see it conceptually, and the Kiplinger’s framework is frequently cited in other articles. In fact, the concept was recently the focus of a long thread on a forum post on EarlyRetirement.org. Someone asked “are you still active now?” and “at what age did you move from go-go to slow-go?”
I did a quick tally of the qualitative responses (non-scientific) and believe that Kiplinger’s is probably being a bit optimistic in how long people typically stay active. Even though the members of these online forums are generally a positive & active bunch, their ‘slow-down’ moment came a bit earlier than I expected.
The tally of 52 people suggests the average age of folks that say they are still in their ‘go-go’ years was 67. The age at which people reported slowing down averaged to 71. That’s a pretty sudden and marked change. (Both groups largely ranged +/- 10 years from these averages).
Keep in mind too that there is an obvious bias in the responses – no one is posting to these forums that has had a serious health issue that killed them. Health issues were the biggest thing that slowed people down, and I’m sure some people that were happily ‘go-going’ suffered strokes, heart attacks, or cancer that actually killed them.
The reason I wanted to write about this is that if people believe that have a longer, active ‘runway’ in retirement than they actually have, they many not be planning effectively. Retiring at 65 may not bring you 20 years of relatively strong activity. These folks might want to plan their FIRE journey (financially independent & retired early) more aggressively and consider reaching a retirement that starts at 50 or 55.
At the same time, they also may need to factor in reduced spending on discretionary activities at a certain age. We put a gradual 15% spending decline in our plan between age 75-85, partly to offset more significant health care spending.
Related: Spending More In Your ‘Go-Go’ Years
As I said, the forum tally I did isn’t scientific, but it does provide some real-life evidence on a thinly-researched issue. In my ‘Googling’ of the topic, I didn’t turn up any actual studies on the ages people start slowing down. It is consistent with research I shared a few years ago that people spend less as they age. Better to plan for the worst, than the best, I guess.
What expectations have you put in your plans relating to slowing down in retirement?
Image Credit: Pixabay