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)
- Spending more time with friends and family (53%)
- Travelling (45%)
- Pursuing new hobbies (33%)