So we had a bit of fun putting the word out and getting people’s ideas for what to call the three different stages of retirement.

See, many of us tend to think of retirement as a single stretch of time beginning when you ease up working and every day becomes the weekend. It’ll stay that way until the end, right?

Not quite – there are broadly three main stages of retirement that roughly correspond to ages 65–74, 75–84, and 85 plus. And they’re really quite different, so it helps to consider this when you’re planning for what are “the choice years” – a fantastic time of life, although with a lot of choices to make over what could be two or three decades.

The first stage is when we have a go at all the things we’ve always wanted to: travel, hobbies, an active lifestyle. In the second stage we consolidate and slow down a bit, with a focus on the simple things. The third is a time to reflect and keep up with the most important relationships in life.

So what to call them? Here’s one of the more entertaining ideas that people came up with: the “go-go years”, the “slow-go years” and the “no-go years”. Then there is my personal favourite: “free time”, “more time” and “overtime”.

But without further ado, here are the more official names of the three stages: “Discovery”, “Endeavour” and “Reflection”.

What’s important to know is that your spending needs won’t be constant during these three phases, but more in the shape of a V. People start with spending more on their activities during Discovery, ease up as they slow down during Endeavour, then once again ramp up their spending as they need more support during the Reflection years.

The more we think about these different stages, the easier it becomes to think about how much work our money will need to do for us and plan accordingly.


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