Beyond the Boat: What Is Your Lifestyle Going to Be Like in Each Stage of Retirement?

As you get ready to retire, you’re probably looking forward to enjoying newfound freedom. In retirement, you won’t have to punch in every day or drive to work in miserable weather. Your retirement savings will give you the ability to pursue a whole new lifestyle.

In your ideal retirement, you may plan to bask in the sun as you lounge in the back of a fishing boat with your feet up on the seats. In the vision, the sun kisses your face as you reach into the cooler for another cold one. The next thing you know, something is tugging at the end of your line. You reel it in. It’s another perfect catch. This is the dream, and you could do it every day.

However, in actual retirement, you have to pay greater attention to your changing lifestyle and the daily responsibilities you have during your golden years. You have to think about how your life will change over the coming years. You may start with the boat, but you also have to think about what comes after the boat.

There are three stages of retirement: go go, slow go, and no go. Each stage requires different kinds of planning and investment strategies. You have to take your income into account at each stage. This includes fluctuations in taxes, family needs, your needs, and your spouse’s needs.

Lounging on the back of a boat is one thing, but the full scope of retirement is something else entirely. Retirement is certainly not for the weak, but it is worth it.

What it comes down to is a topic a lot of people don’t like to talk about: aging. We’re all getting older. I’m getting older, and everyone I know is getting older every single day. It comes with challenges you never really think about during your working years, like having to adapt to mobility challenges at home or your spouse not being able to travel.

Early on in retirement, you may be living the good life. But if you aren’t keeping yourself moving, you risk losing your mobility. There’s a lot of truth to the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” It’s a problem I see every day. People don’t take care of themselves and they lose abilities they once had — and that includes mobility. You have to take care of yourself.

As you get older, living on the lake or traveling will take more energy than it did in the past. At some point, you have to ask if living on the lake is something you can continue to do, or if living on the farm and taking care of 10 acres is still possible. There are a lot of questions you need to think about.

Ideally, you have money saved to help take care of things you can’t personally take care of. But there still will be other challenges along the way, from deciding to downsize to deciding whether or not to go into assisted living. And you will have to tackle these challenges head on.

Luckily you have the benefit of talking about these issues now before you grow older and before they occur. Have the conversation with your loved ones. Have conversations that go beyond lounging on the back of the boat. Talk about what’s beyond the boat.

We can be part of that conversation, too. We always want to hear from you. Let us know what we can do now to make your retirement even better later on.

And as part of the greater “retirement conversation,” we’re introducing a new advisor fee platform that gives you even more access to your dollars and documents on a regular basis. We’ll be sending out letters and emails to all our clients explaining the benefits of this new platform, and we hope it makes your retirement a little bit easier. Stay tuned!

-Gary Mattson