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50 things to do now you're 50

Reaching the half-century is a natural time to reflect and take stock in every area of your life. It’s also a good time to start preparing in earnest for your third act – retirement.

Here are 50 things to do now you’re 50

Money

Save more

As your debts decrease and retirement approaches it's time to squirrel more away.

Start planning your pension

You get access to your private pension at 55. Should you take a lump sum? Or should you look at last minute ways of growing your pot?

Consider voluntary National Insurance payments

If you’re worried you may not have the 35 years of NI payments you need for the full state pension by the time you stop working, now would be a good time to start making voluntary payments to fill in any gaps.

Look at downsizing

Your property could boost your retirement income. Downsizing is practically a rite of passage, but there are other ways to earn money from your home, without moving.

Pay off your debts

In the current low-interest environment, any debts you have will usually cost more than you can earn on savings.

Split up your savings

The government guarantees balances of up to £85,000. Anything higher is at risk if the institution fails. Split your assets into sub-£85k accounts to ensure they’re all protected.

Shop around for the best savings accounts

Whether it's fixed savings accounts or ISAs.

Track down lost pensions

Use the government’s pension finder service to find old pensions and bring them together.

Get money advice

Now that you’re 50 you qualify for free finance advice from Age UK, and it may also be a good time to find a financial adviser, especially if your finances are a cause of stress.

Plan for Inheritance Tax

Gifts given seven years before death can be subject to inheritance tax. We’re sure you’ve got a few years yet, but it can’t hurt to plan for the worst.

Save for your children and grandchildren

If you haven’t already, start growing a fund for the next generation. Our Stocks and Shares Junior ISA or Junior Bond can help you do this.

Write a will

By clarifying what should be done with your estate, a will makes it easier for your family - and can be a key part of reducing inheritance tax.

Work out how you’ll pay for care

As families move apart and the population ages, more of us are spending our twilight years in a care home. Planning how to pay for care can help ease the burden on your family.

Consider over-50s life insurance

Over-50s life insurance can soften the blow for your family at the worst time, helping to cover the cost of your funeral.

The OneFamily Over 50s Life Cover policy offers serious and terminal illness benefit as standard and guarantees acceptance, with no medical needed.

For as little as £10 per month you could offer your family peace of mind in the event of your death. Find out more about our Over 50s Life Cover.

Work

Find a job you enjoy

You’re too old to put up with a job you hate. Balancing job satisfaction with financial remuneration could help you get more out of life.

Volunteer in your community

Give yourself a sense of purpose by helping your community. Here are six ways to help your local community.

Become a mentor

Passing on your hard-earned knowledge is one of life’s greatest pleasures and responsibilities. Revel in your experiences and help someone else flourish.

Learn a new skill

Do a training course. Learn something entirely new. Become an expert in your area. Moving sideways or upwards at work could lead to a new lease of life.

Refresh your IT skills

Technology moves fast. Maybe you’re not behind, but maybe you could get ahead.

Start a second career

You need to keep seeking new challenges. Perhaps it’s time to retrain as a teacher, or ditch the desk and work with your hands.

Start a business

If there’s ever a time to take chances, it’s now. Especially with your experience.

Work abroad

Working in a foreign country is not just for gap year students. There are plenty of opportunities for over 50s overseas.

Health

Eat less meat

Daily doses of red meat can increase the risk of dying from heart disease by as much as 24%.

Eat a Mediterranean diet

Eating plenty of colourful vegetables, wholegrains and fish can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 53%.

Start running

Aside from thwarting middle-aged spread, regular aerobic exercise can keep your heart in check and help to combat osteoarthritis. Get started with a couch to 5k.

Start lifting weights

The older you get, the more your muscle tone depletes. The NHS recommends twice-weekly strength training with weights, bands or body weight to retain strength and fight osteoporosis.

Take vitamin D supplements

Everyone should consider vitamin D supplements during the winter months in Britain. For over 50s, it’s especially important for preventing osteoporosis.

Quit smoking

It’s not too late. Quitting at 50 adds six years to your life.

Go to the optician

Get ahead of potential problems like glaucoma that get more common with age.

Get a hearing test

Your hearing degrades naturally over time. The process is so gradual, it might be worse than you realise.

Eat pumpkin seeds

Studies suggest eating pumpkin seeds may help protect against prostate cancer.

Friends and family

When asked what people’s biggest regrets are, family failings are often top of the list. Turning 50 is an opportunity to right those wrongs before they haunt you.

Make amends with estranged relatives

Whatever tore you apart won’t matter in the end.

Visit relatives overseas

Don’t let distance get in the way. And there’s little better than locals showing you around a new place.

Reconnect with an old friend

One of the five regrets heard most often by one palliative nurse was not staying in touch with old friends.

Research your family tree

Reconnect with your roots and pick up a genealogical hobby while you’re at it. Ancestry.com is a good place to start. You might even consider genetic testing with 23andme.

Make a new friend

It’s harder to make friends as you get older. But it’s easier to get into ruts. And new relationships can lead you to unexpected places.

Try online dating

It’s not just for young people. There are plenty of sites that cater specifically for the mature singleton.

Let go of a grudge

Chronic anger releases more cortisol – the ‘stress hormone’. Higher levels of cortisol lead to shorter lives. Forgiving is good for the body, as well as the soul.

Renew your wedding vows

Have the wedding you couldn’t afford the first time. And it could be a great excuse to make amends with relatives and reconnect with old friends…

Bucket list

It’s natural at this time of your life to reflect on all the things you haven’t done that you wish you had. Time to tick off that bucket list in earnest.

Learn another language

Broaden your horizons, meet new people, and stave off dementia while you’re at it.

Learn to play an instrument

Some say it’s easier to learn an instrument as an adult. Aside from being immensely rewarding, it also lowers stress and protects cognition – similar to learning a language.

Write a book

You’re wiser now than you once were. Time to pass on that hard-won nous.

Read a classic you’ve always ignored

You’re not alone in owning Ulysses but not having read it. Now’s the time to find out why it’s called ‘the best novel in the English language’.

Take a once-in-a-lifetime trip

Live in Buenos Aires for a month. Cruise the Scandinavian fjords. Go see the world.

Eat at a restaurant you’ve always wanted to

Get a taste of Michelin-star food. Sample one of Heston’s mad creations. Find out what a sushi burrito is.

Go to the cinema by yourself

And do it on a weekday afternoon.

Buy something you’ve always wanted but never felt you could afford

You’ve been financially responsible until now. You can afford a splurge. You deserve it.

Travel alone

There’s nothing quite like travelling with no one else to worry about.

See the Northern Lights

Just because.

Be grateful

Life has its ups and down, but no matter how bad things seem there are always countless things to be thankful for.

You may not get through everything on this list. But give it a good shot and you’ll be living proof that life begins at 50.