You spend your working life preparing for the future. As we get older we start gearing up for retirement which we often see as a final phase in which we can settle down and just enjoy what we’ve worked for. Only retirement isn’t just one final stage in your life – and according to the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC), it’s possibly three!

Between the ages of 65-74, you may enter what the CFFC consider the “doing” years. They call it the ‘Discovery’ phase of retirement. You’ll be eager to utilise your hard-earned time to yourself, doing all the wonderful things you’ve been putting off for years because of work and other obligations. You’ll be spending more time with friends and family, travelling, indulging in hobbies and almost replacing one full schedule with an entirely new set of time fillers and potentially, costs! You might even be part of New Zealand’s aging workforce and still doing the odd bit of work or enjoying part-time employment. Either way, you’re going to need to make sure you don’t spend your nest-egg, KiwiSaver or Super too quickly, because it doesn’t stop here.

Between 75-84, you’ll probably move into the ‘Endeavour’ phase where the possible excitement and freedom from your early retirement has settled down and you’re going back to basics and the simpler things in life. This might include some change-ups like downsizing your house to a more practical space and less maintenance. You’ll be picking the things that matter to keep you active and you might consider some assisted living if your body is telling you to slow things down. It’s less of a free-for-all than when you first retired, however not having much spare cash might be more detrimental in this stage of your life, especially if you need a little help with the day-to-day.

From 85+ you’re in what the CFFC name the ‘Reflection’ phase. You’ll likely have slowed down significantly and will have fully transitioned into a more reflective lifestyle focussed on your personal circumstances and health. It’s very much about balancing your needs with what you have remaining of your nest-egg, KiwiSaver or Super. It’s in this phase that earlier thought and effort into conserving funds and adequately preparing yourself financially will have the biggest pay-off in terms of peace of mind, for you and your loved ones. This is the time when you will likely need it the most.

We all have grand ideas about what our retirement will be in our golden years. Prepare now, age well, live comfortably and reap the benefits as you pass through the different phases of your retirement.

AdviceFirst is a Financial Advice Provider (FSP23242).