People are living longer than ever before, and this trend is likely to continue.1 An estimated 19% of girls and 13.6% of boys born in the UK in 2020 are expected to live to at least 100. And these numbers are projected to increase.2 This age of longevity gives us a chance to rethink how we live and find fulfilment at each stage of life.

While living longer is a positive thing, it can bring challenges as well as opportunities. You might worry about having enough money to support yourself, or you might not like the idea of having to work for longer. But we can make the most of our time and take advantage of the opportunities living longer presents by developing more flexible, long-term financial plans. This could include building in time to learn new skills, switch careers, or take breaks over the course of your life.

In this article we offer tips and thought-starters on how you can plan for what could be a 100-year life. By preparing this way, your finances could be a source of long-term support and reassurance.

This is not financial advice.

Things to consider for your financial plan

First things first, if we’re starting to live longer, our financial plans should reflect this to make sure we’re saving what we need for now and in the future.

1. Work out how much you need to save

63% of today’s 55-64 year olds have less than £100,000 in their long-term savings.3 For many people, this won’t be enough to maintain the lifestyle they hope for when they stop working. That’s why it’s important to start planning now. Whether that means researching investing or reviewing your pension contributions for example, a long-term financial plan can play a key part in achieving your future goals. Our financial wellbeing tool can help you build a strong mindset for saving.

2. Expect to reach 100

Life expectancy is increasing, and children born today have a good chance of reaching 100.2 To adapt to this 100-year life span, we need to balance living in the here and now with planning in the long term to ensure our financial security. This means finding sources of income that give us meaning and also setting clear financial goals. For example, our research suggests aiming for an annual income of 70% of your pre-retirement income is a good way to make sure you have a comfortable and secure retirement.3 This rule of thumb is to give you an idea of how much you might need in retirement. How much you'll need will depend on your own personal circumstances and what you want your retirement lifestyle to look like.

3. Envision your future self

Just 1 in 4 of us has a concrete vision of the things and experiences our future self might want.3 But by developing this vision, you’re more empowered to achieve it. By determining what you’re saving for, and what your priorities are, you can better understand what steps you need to take to best support your financial future.

4. Build an emergency fund

Life can bring unexpected challenges and having savings for emergencies is vital. But our research has found that around 51% of UK adults couldn’t live on their emergency savings for more than 3 months.3 With the rise in the cost of living, it might not be possible to set aside this amount but even starting a small emergency fund could bring some peace of mind. For tips on how to set money aside for unexpected events, read our article on how to build an emergency fund.

5. The art of the side hustle

From baking cakes to building a freelance business, side hustles are a potential way to supplement your income or savings. Your hobbies and interests may be a rewarding way of earning money – one that’s personal to you. In our article, we’ve outlined 5 easy side hustles to boost your income. Make sure to check with your employer if working in a freelance capacity is possible first and understand any tax implications.

To learn more about how you can build these plans, read our guide The benefit of written financial plans.

young woman doing watercolour art while sitting at a pine table

Factors which could influence your life plan

1. Finding purpose and flexibility in work

The way we work is changing. As we prepare to work for longer, we may need to be more adaptable to stay in employment and make sure we’re earning what we need, while still saving towards our goals. If we do work for longer, we’ll most likely need to take advantage of opportunities to retrain or find creative ways to bring joy and purpose into our professional lives.

2. Re-training opportunities

Career paths have become more flexible, which comes with more chances to explore new areas of professional interest. Retraining and upskilling are great tools to grow a well-rounded professional skillset and boost your knowledge and, potentially, your earnings. Volunteering can also help build your experience, understanding, and confidence in other areas. This time might help you find a sense of purpose, or develop your skills for promotion.

3. Taking time to revitalise

The 100-year life plan could mean changing your mindset to understand that taking time off can benefit your future. While it might feel like taking time to travel or rest won’t help your financial future, it can be beneficial to build in breaks. Travelling or resting to prioritise your mental wellbeing may also give you the space to consider any new opportunities you wish to explore, including working or volunteering abroad. Don’t forget to talk about your options with your employer before committing to time away from work.

4. Making time for your hobbies and interests

When we feel in control of our long-term finances we can give more attention to enjoying life now. Only 1 in 4 people are very aware of what makes their life enjoyable and 1 in 5 people are aware of what makes it meaningful.3 But as we live longer lives, it’s important to build connections with the things we love. Creating a sustainable future is about more than planning ahead financially, it’s also about connecting with what brings you joy.

Consider the things you’re passionate about and remember your hobbies and interests are opportunities to develop, learn, and explore what engages you – whatever age you are.

5. Networking with people

Work and play are great ways to build lifelong networks that benefit you personally and professionally. These networks not only strengthen our communities and create connections with others. They also open up new opportunities and ways of thinking that could enrich your life inside and outside of work.

6. Mentoring others to build a better future

Mentoring is beneficial to both mentees and their communities. It not only provides opportunities for upskilling to people who might not have had access to formal training or education. It’s also positive for mentors themselves. It fosters connection with your community, builds out your existing network, and develops your communication and leadership skills, all of which may be beneficial in both your personal and professional lives.4

Reimagine tomorrow to enjoy today

The world’s moving away from a three-stage life model. We now have the opportunity to imagine a different kind of future and create a lasting, positive impact on our lives and our communities. This also means planning ahead with our finances to protect our financial wellbeing in the long run. Whether you pursue your passions or invest your time and energy in your community, finding a way to make the most of your time could help you build a meaningful future.

To learn more about longevity and the multi-stage life, check out our articles: Say goodbye to ‘learn, work, retire’? Embracing the age of longevity and Improving your bouncebackability: 5 tips to boost your financial resilience.

World Population Prospects 2022, page 17. Data source, United Nations, 2022.

2 Past and projected period and cohort life tables: 2020-based, UK, 1981 to 2070. Data source, ONS, January 2022.

3 How you can improve your financial wellbeing, page 9, 14 and 15. Data Source, Aegon’s Centre for Behavioural Research, July and August 2023, 10,040 UK residents. 

4  3 reasons mentoring helps the mentor, not just the mentee. Data source, Forbes, Accessed Aug 2023.


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