Aging and health status in retirement – the three chapters

Aging and health status in retirement – the three chapters

Australians, and people around the globe, are living longer than ever before due to an increased awareness and understanding of the factors that influence our life span, such as genetics, health care, workplace health and wellness, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle.

According to the latest statistics available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics*, a 65 year old Australian could on average expect to live until age 84.6 (male) or age 87.3 (female). In a retirement context, that’s an expected 19.6 years (male) and/or 22.3 years (female) that needs to be appropriately planned for as a single or couple.

Retirement chapters
For many of us, we often imagine retirement as that chapter in our life when we can finally kick back and enjoy the fruits of our labours, for which we worked so hard to accumulate. For example, we plan to make the most of the time and resources that we now have at our disposal by doing and seeing the things that may not have been possible earlier in life for one reason or another (e.g. due to personal and/or work-related constraints).

Importantly, this image of retirement is really only half (or in fact a third) of the overall picture of the retirement ‘lifecycle’. When it comes to ageing and health status in retirement, retirees will often experience three chapters as they progress through their retirement years:

  1. The early (active) chapter,
  2. The middle (passive/sedentary) chapter, and
  3. The late (frail/support) chapter.

Please see the below table for a summary of the three retirement chapters.

Ageing and health status in retirement: The three chapters#^
Chapter Early






Age 60-75 65-85 75+
Time Continuation of pre-retirement lifestyle, but work is substituted with more time for leisure activities, travel, and family A shift towards more passive activities and travel becomes increasingly more localised i.e. closer to home As restricted mobility starts to become an increasingly limiting factor, leisure activities and travel are further reduced
Work May undertake some form of part-time work May undertake some form of unpaid volunteer/charity work Reduced ability to work in either a part-time or volunteer/charity capacity
Finances Increased expenditure
on leisure activities and travel, but majority still save money
Increased expenditure
on health and potentially a shift towards a more frugal lifestyle
Increased expenditure on health and aged care
Housing Comfortable living in standard dwelling. Consequently, will often stay in existing home (may undertake renovations) or upgrade  Increasingly difficult to maintain existing home and growing need for age-appropriate layout and facilities. As such, a need for ‘right-sizing’ may emerge, which may result in downsizing or home modifications Growing need for more complex medical facilities, which may result in movement into a residential aged care facility (retirement village or nursing home)
Care Self-sufficiency in daily living and care needs Mind and body begin to slow down. As such, a growing need for assistance with daily living, which may result in low to moderate levels of home care Mind and body have declined significantly. As such, a growing need for specialised care, which may result in moderate-high levels of home care or movement into a residential aged care facility

As you can see from the table above, these three chapters do overlap in terms of the age ranges. This is cognisant of the fact that whilst increased age is often a determining factor with regards to a decline in physical and/or mental health, the point in which it does start to occur, and progress, can vary from one person to the next.

Moving forward

Whilst retirement is something to look forward to (and be enjoyed), it’s important to understand that there will come a time in your retirement years when your age will start to get the better of your mental and/or physical health, which will have a range of implications as seen above.

By understanding this, you will have a more informed expectation of what retirement may actually entail for you and be able to appropriately plan for it, especially in several relevant areas of your personal finances. For example:

  • Retirement savings considerations, such as income and expenditure (e.g. changes in spending habits and retirement lifestyle, as well as senior concessions available) and the risks facing retirees (e.g. longevity and expenditure risk).
  • Aged care considerations, such as the type, level and cost of aged care services required (e.g. Commonwealth Home Support Programme, Home Care Package and Residential Aged Care) and what to do with the family home (e.g. sell it or keep it and rent it out/not rent it out).
  • Estate planning considerations, such as a will, powers of attorney, guardianship, advanced care directives, as well as wealth transfer.

Importantly, if you have any questions about what was discussed in this article, we encourage you to contact Michael Brandt from APT Wealth Partners. Michael is a Certified Financial Planner who speaks fluent Polish and can draw on his extensive experience to assist with advice in relation to planning for retirement.

MICHAEL BRANDT CFP®, B Comm (Accg), B.App Fin, Adv Dip FS(FP)
Senior Financial Planner
Authorised Representative 337019
[email protected] 
Level 28, 31 Market Street, Sydney NSW 2000
T 02 8262 4000 F 02 9283 6331

*Australian Government, Australian Bureau of Statistics. Life Tables, States, Territories and Australia, 2014-2016.
^Australian Government, Productivity Commission. (2015). Housing Decisions of Older Australians.
#Rice Warner. (2014). Investing for different phases of retirement.
*#Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2014). Healthy life expectancy in Australia: patterns and trends 1998 to 2012.

The information in this article is provided by Apt Wealth Partners (AFSL 436121 ABN 49 159 583 847) and is of a general nature only. It may not be relevant to your personal needs, objectives or financial circumstances. The circumstances of each investor are different and you should seek advice from a financial planner who can consider if the strategies and products are right for you.

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