How retirement goes from go-go to no-go

Explore the three phases of retirement and how they impact your physical, emotional, and financial well-being.

Key learnings covered in this topic

  1. Navigating the three phases of retirement
  2. Strategies for each phase, including financial and lifestyle adjustments.
  3. Valuable guidance to ensure your retirement strategy remains robust and adaptable.

Retirement is often portrayed as a highly active stage of life, but in reality, it won’t always be this way. Your physical, emotional and financial capabilities will change as life after work extends, and while you might start out busier than ever, your lifestyle will mellow as you become older. This progression is known as the go-go, go-slow and no-go phases of retirement. Each has a different level of spending dependant largely on your health, so you’ll need to plan for each phase in your retirement strategy. Let’s examine them in more detail.


As the name suggests, the go-go phase can be an exciting introduction to retirement. You’ve probably spent years dreaming of the things you’ll do, and the places you’ll go, and finally, that time has arrived. For some, this could also be a time of winding down from work. This may take the form of part time work as you transition to retirement, or a volunteer position that keeps you busy.

This go-go lifestyle will take place mainly in your 60s. At this age you’re still physically and financially capable of living life to the fullest, so this phase usually involves a high level of spending. It’s important to keep this higher cost in mind for the first five to ten years of your retirement strategy.


In this phase the excitement of retirement will begin to subside and you’ll begin to enjoy a slower pace. Emotionally you’ll have transitioned into retirement, and the big-ticket activities that punctuated the go-go phase will be replaced by more modest pursuits like Tuesday movie matinees, or Friday night dinners in your local area. Physically your body might need more care, so looking after the grandkids could become quite tiring and you’re likely to become more familiar with your doctor. 

The go-slow years will begin in your 70s, and the duration of this phase will depend largely on your health. Your more relaxed lifestyle will lead to a decrease in spending which can soften the financial blow out of the go-go years. 


The final phase is the no-go years. Your health and mobility will be in decline and your activity will eventually become quite limited. For many the aim of this phase will be to live independently for as long as possible. Physically and emotionally these years can be quite hard so your network of family and friends will be important.

For many the no-go phase will happen at some point in your 80s. Financially your social costs will decrease and your healthcare costs will increase. It’s important to budget for this high-cost phase in your retirement strategy, and make decisions early on where you will live.  

Getting ready to retire? Get some help planning the go-go, go-slow and no-go phases

There’s a lot of planning involved in a successful retirement. As part of your membership, you have access to financial planners* who can help make sure your super is ready for life after work. Or, for more comprehensive advice^ you can book in to see one of our experienced financial planners whereby fees will be communicated up front and include no commissions.^  Book a call-back today

Or, see if you are on track with the Retirement planning checklist.

Already retired? Make sure your retirement strategy is still working

If you need help with your retirement strategy, then give us a call. As part of your membership, we can discuss your income needs and make sure your strategy is set up for all three phases of retirement.* For more comprehensive advice^ about your retirement income, you can book in to see one of our experienced financial planners whereby fees will be communicated up front and include no commissions. 

Or, if you require more intricate help on matters like estate planning or aged care, let us know and we can direct you to trusted external advisers who are experts in these areas.

Book a call-back today


*Financial advice obtained over the phone, or through MemberOnline, is provided by Mercer Financial Advice (Australia) Pty Ltd (MFAAPL) ABN 76 153 168 293, Australian Financial Services Licence #411766.
^Advice is provided by one of our financial planners, who are Authorised Representatives of Industry Funds Services Limited (IFS). IFS is responsible for any advice given to you by its Authorised Representatives. Industry Fund Services Limited ABN 54 007 016 195 AFSL 232514.

Information correct as at 19 April 2024.