50 things to do now you're 50

You’ve made it to 50. Congratulations! What now?

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.

With all that in mind, here are 50 things to do now you’re 50.

things to do at 50 - family

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

  3. Start planning your pension
  4. 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?

  5. Consider voluntary National Insurance payments
  6. 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 the gaps.

  7. Look at downsizing
  8. 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.

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

  11. Split up your savings
  12. 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.

  13. Shop around for the best savings accounts
  14. Whether it's fixed savings accounts or ISAs.

  15. Track down lost pensions
  16. Use the government’s pension finder service to find old pensions and bring them together.

  17. Get free money advice
  18. Now that you’re 50, you qualify for free finance advice from Age UK.

  19. Plan for Inheritance Tax
  20. Gifts given seven years before death can be subject to IHT. We’re sure you’ve got a few years yet, but it can’t hurt to plan for the worst.

  21. Save for your children and grandchildren
  22. If you haven’t already, start growing a fund for the next generation. Our Junior ISA and Junior Bonds can help you do this.

  23. Write a will
  24. 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.

  25. Work out how you’ll pay for care
  26. 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.

    1. Buy 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 here: OneFamily Over 50s Life Cover.

Your work life

With more people than ever working into their 70s, 50 is increasingly seen as the chance for a second career. Especially if the kids are grown up, and the mortgage is paid – so you can afford to take risks.

  1. Quit your job
  2. Quitting a job makes it onto a lot of people’s bucket lists. You’re too old to put up with a job you hate.

  3. Volunteer in your community
  4. People with a sense of purpose live longer. Here are six ways to help your community.

  5. Become a mentor
  6. Passing on your hard-earned knowledge is one of life’s great pleasures. Revel in your experience and help someone flourish.

  7. Learn a new skill
  8. 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.

  9. Refresh your IT skills
  10. Technology moves fast. Maybe you’re not behind, but maybe you could get ahead.

  11. Start a second career
  12. 43% of 45-54 year olds are seeking new challenges. Perhaps it’s time to retrain as a teacher, or ditch the desk and work with your hands.

  13. Start a business
  14. 45% of Britain’s self-employed are over 50. If there’s ever a time to take chances, it’s now. Especially with your experience.

  15. Work abroad
  16. It’s not just for gap year students. There are plenty of opportunities for over 50s overseas.

Your health

As we age, we can’t get away with the habits we could when we were younger. If there’s ever a time to get your health in order, it’s now.

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

  3. Eat a Mediterranean diet
  4. Eating plenty of colourful vegetables, wholegrains and fish can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 53%.

  5. Start lifting weights
  6. 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.

  7. Start running
  8. 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.

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

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

  13. Go to the optician
  14. Get ahead of potential problems like glaucoma that get more common with age.

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

  17. Eat pumpkin seeds
  18. 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.

  1. Make amends with estranged relatives
  2. Whatever tore you apart won’t matter in the end.

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

  5. Research your family tree
  6. 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.

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

  9. Make a new friend
  10. 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.

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

  13. Let go of a grudge
  14. 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.

  15. Renew your wedding vows
  16. 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.

    1. Learn another language

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

    1. 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.

    1. 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’.

    1. Write a book

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

    1. Take a once-in-a-lifetime trip

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

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. Go to the cinema by yourself

And do it on a weekday afternoon.

    1. Travel alone

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

    1. See the Northern Lights

Just because.

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.

Note: While we take care to ensure Talking Finance content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions.

OneFamily Over 50s Life Cover