On average, people are living longer across the UK. In fact, it’s now estimated that a quarter of all children born today will live to almost 100.1

While we won’t all reach that milestone, many of us are likely to be able to enjoy the gift of more time. For those of us approaching or in retirement, this presents new opportunities to do the things we love, but it could also create more challenges along the way.

We’ve recently launched a new report to explore what a longer life could mean for you. ‘The Second 50: Navigating a multi-stage life’ is designed to help those approaching or in the second half of their life understand and be confident on their journey. This article will introduce you to the concept of the multi-stage life, with key insights and considerations to support you. Unless otherwise stated, all data presented is from our Second 50 report.

What is a multi-stage life?

From technological advancements to new cultural and social dynamics, the world we live in now is very different from the one we saw just a few decades ago.

Breaking away from the traditional three-stage model of ‘education, employment, retirement’ – we’re moving towards living more varied and flexible multi-stage lives. No longer are life’s stages defined by our age, but more by our decisions on how we spend our time. For example, you might choose to go to university in your 40s, or maybe decide not to retire at all.

For those of us who are coming up to or already beyond 50, the second half of modern life – or our ‘Second 50’ – presents a completely different landscape. Across our families, work and finances, here are a few examples of how things are changing:

  • The average age of first-time mothers is now 31 in England and Wales, up from 27 just a few decades ago.2 This may mean you still have financially dependent children further into later life.
  • Our older relatives are living longer, too. As a result, 1.3 million people in the UK (mostly aged between 35 and 54) now have caring responsibilities for both children and parents.3
  • More of us are working longer. The number of workers aged 65+ has more than doubled between 1998 and 2018.4
  • Since the pandemic, there’s also been a trend of people returning to employment having previously stopped work. 67% of returning 50 to 65-year-olds with a physical or mental health condition or illness made this decision due to financial needs.5
  • Only 27% of our survey respondents are planning a clean break from full-time employment into full-time retirement. For many who plan on staying in work, this is out of choice because they enjoy work or want to keep their brain active. For others, it’s due to the concern of a lack of savings.

With so many responsibilities to juggle, the multi-stage life could become the norm for many. If we’re to make the most of our Second 50, we need to embrace these changes and look at later life from a new angle. One that helps us to achieve our goals and adapt in the face of challenges.

What are people’s aspirations and concerns for the Second 50?

While a purposeful and fulfilling Second 50 will look different for everyone, our survey of 900 workers and 100 retirees highlighted some common aspirations and concerns for later life, as well as how they’ve changed between 2022 and 2023. How does this align with your own thoughts for the future?  

Top three retirement aspirations (2023)

  1. Spending more time with friends and family (53%)
  2. Travelling (45%)
  3. Pursuing new hobbies (33%)
Top 3 retirement aspirations

Top three later life concerns (2023)

  1. Running out of money (45%)
  2. Declining physical health (39%)
  3. Not being able to do the things I enjoy (34%)
Top 3 later life concerns

Shaping your own destiny

When it comes to living a joyful Second 50, you have the power, and the years, to shape your own destiny. It can be a tricky task, but your journey should always start with taking a step back to think about how you plan on overcoming your concerns and achieving your aspirations.

In the next section, we’ll look at the five fundamentals identified in our research that could help you shape your Second 50.

The five fundamentals – how can I make the most of my Second 50?

The diverse nature of the Second 50 means that our path through later life will likely be unique for each and every one of us. You could have the opportunity to do things you didn’t think you would, or face challenges you didn’t expect. You might need to adapt to changing circumstances, or plan slightly differently for a longer life.  

We’ve identified five ‘fundamental’ areas that will likely play a huge role in shaping our ability to achieve our goals and overcome any challenges. These are work, wealth, family, health and wellbeing. Here are some tips to better understand how each of them may affect you.

The five fundamentals of the Second 50 - Aegon


Our relationship with work has changed significantly from that of previous generations. We no longer work a ‘job for life’ and are likely to have multiple career changes. With this comes a need to learn new skills, re-train and develop.

To make the most of your working opportunities, here are some things to think about:

  • A change in direction is not to be feared. As you move through your Second 50, it’s an opportunity to prioritise different types of work, such as volunteering or switching to a career you’re more passionate about.
  • If hybrid/flexible working is available to you, it can be a nice to have to balance life’s many commitments.
  • Keep your confidence up by staying busy. Networking, training, reading about industry trends and volunteering in your field are great ways to learn new skills and develop.


While living longer is something to celebrate, we a need to think about how we’ll fund our extra years. This means considering any pensions, savings, housing and investments you may have, or what inheritance you might be expecting.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Whether your current level of saving will be enough for the lifestyle you want to enjoy. For many, today’s pressures mean they simply can’t save more. But for others, it’s about balancing out the needs of both now and the future. A pension calculator like this one from MoneyHelper can help you work out if you’re saving adequately for your goals.
  • Getting into good savings habits. If you do feel you need to save more, putting away even a small amount each month could help to embed positive saving habits that last a lifetime. Find out more in our article The benefits of saving £50 a month.
  • Your workplace pensions. If you’ve had more than one employer in your career, there’s a good chance you have more than one workplace pension. Our article shares tips on how to keep your workplace pensions in order.   
  • Your State Pension entitlements. Understanding the State Pension and what you can expect to receive could help form a clearer picture of your overall finances. Read our article What is the State Pension and how does it work to give you an introduction.


By taking the time to plan for our future, we can do our best to make sure that our families are financially secure when they need us the most. Whether it’s providing a lasting legacy, or simply enabling them to enjoy special moments together – like planning a holiday.

Some tips for discussing your plans with family or support networks include:

  • Have honest and open conversations with loved ones about plans and back-up plans.
  • If you manage your finances jointly with a partner, be joined up in your planning and think about your combined Second 50.
  • Be prepared for unexpected turns and consider the impact on your finances should you or a loved one become unable to work.


Taking care of our physical and mental health is important for making the most of any age, including our Second 50. We hope to have many years in good health, but it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of managing more significant health issues as we age.

It could be necessary to consider:

  • The role an active and healthy lifestyle can play in maintaining our wellbeing. From a balanced diet to regular exercise, small changes might help to reduce the risk of having to stop work earlier than we’d like due to poor health.
  • The possibility of needing social care should our health decline significantly. Care homes and treatment can be expensive, so understanding the likelihood of future ill health could be vital in preparing for any costs relating to this further down the line.


Wellbeing is far more than just feeling good. Finding purpose and joy in our activities is the main goal, including through less obvious routes such as our finances. If we focus in on financial wellbeing, you might find it helpful to reflect on following:

  • What are your financial goals? Do you want to save more for retirement, pursue a passion or provide for loved ones? Having an understanding of your financial objectives helps you to create a plan to achieve them.
  • What will bring us happiness, joy and purpose in our Second 50? And how does that differ from our first 50? Try our Picture your best life tool to help you visualise your future goals.

What’s next

All of the findings and takeaways from this article are from our new report, ‘The Second 50: Navigating a multi-stage life’. Our goal is to provide you with the insights and tools you need to navigate the multi-stage life and to be confident in making decisions along the way.


Life expectancy calculator. Males born in 2023 – life expectancy = 88 years, 1 in 4 chance of living to 97. Females born in 2023 – life expectancy = 90 years, 1 in 4 chance of living to 99. Data source, Office for National Statistics, calculated in October 2023.


Birth characteristics in England and Wales: 2021. Data Source, Office for National Statistics, January 2023.


More than one in four sandwich carers report symptoms of mental ill-health. Data Source, Office for National Statistics, 2019.


Living longer: how our population is changing and why it matters. Data Source, Office for National Statistics, 2018.


Returning to the workplace – the motivations and barriers for people aged 50 years and over, Great Britain: August 2022. Data Source, Office for National Statistics, 2022.


Financial wellbeing Insights