Engage Mutual research reveals surprises in average British bucket list

Posted in: Research Last updated: 24 Jul 2014

Owning not just a holiday home, but a home in the UK, were hailed as two of the ‘must haves’ on the average person’s bucket list, it emerged yesterday in research released by Engage Mutual.

Swimming with dolphins, a romantic trip to Venice, and marvelling at the Egyptian pyramids also featured in the top 40 things people would most like to do before they die.

The desire to learn a new language also scored highly, with almost a third of those surveyed eager to improve their linguistic skills.

The survey reveals that alongside more materialistic wishes, a significant 60 per cent want to stay as healthy as possible.

Retirement is a key focus with half of respondents aiming to ensure theirs is as comfortable as possible, something which becomes even more of a priority the closer it gets.

A third of respondents cite the ability to leave their children with a property or good inheritance as their biggest goal with their remaining time. Yet 48% of those still working worry they have not set themselves up financially or saved enough.

The study of 2,000 people, which was commissioned by Engage Mutual, found the average person holds 16 key dreams they want to achieve in life.

However, 60 per cent concede that realistically, they will never get close to achieving the majority of their aims with many not having ticked anything off their bucket list for at least six months.

A spokesperson for Engage Mutual said:

“The results reveal a colourful array of aims and ambitions that many of us hope to fulfil during our lives.

“Many seek to ensure things are in place for a comfortable retirement during which they can help children and grandchildren achieve their own aims. But many feel they won’t be able to fulfil all of these dreams, blaming their financial positions for holding them back.”

The study also found swimming with dolphins is a dream for more than a quarter of us, taking in the sights of Paris from the Eiffel Tower is also among the top 40 bucket list dreams.

Floating in the Dead Sea, driving Route 66 in the US, and taking in the view from the top of the Empire State Building also feature.

Self- improvement was another common theme among the bucket list items, with the desire to learn an instrument an ambition in common for 17 per cent, while volunteering for a good cause is important for 14 per cent.

When reflecting on their lives so far, people were most likely to say the financial side of life was the area that hadn’t gone as well as planned with 40 per cent wishing they were better with money. Work-life balance also proves elusive – more than a third feel they have got the balance wrong.

The Engage Mutual spokesperson added: “Finding the balance between financial security to ensure your later years are comfortable, while making sure life is lived and experienced fully today is a challenge. But planning for the good times and the not so good times will always be a better option than burying our heads in the sand.”


  1. Have a holiday home abroad

  2. Learn a new language

  3. Go on holiday to the Maldives

  4. Buy a house

  5. Swim with dolphins

  6. Drive Route 66

  7. Ride a hot air balloon

  8. See the Egyptian Pyramids

  9. Go to a casino in Las Vegas

  10. Visit Venice

  11. Go up the Empire State Building

  12. Go on a cruise

  13. Go whale watching

  14. Climb a mountain

  15. Go up the Eiffel tower

  16. Learn an instrument

  17. Work in a different country

  18. Float in the Dead Sea

  19. Write a novel

  20. Drive a racing car

  21. Change career

  22. Trek the Inca Trail

  23. Be a volunteer for a good cause

  24. Be an extra in a film

  25. Go scuba diving

  26. Try out surfing

  27. Hold a Koala

  28. Feed a penguin

  29. Get a tattoo

  30. Backpack Europe

  31. Own a designer watch

  32. Ride a gondola

  33. Run a big race

  34. Bungee jump

  35. Reach the top of my career ladder

  36. Own a Mulberry handbag

  37. Ride a camel

  38. Ride on a horse and cart

  39. Write a film

  40. Change hair colour