Over 50s Leading a Lifestyle Revolution

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Aug 06, 2014 by British Blog

Recent research seems to suggest that the UK's current crop of over 50s is seizing later life as an opportunity to redefine what it means to work and to enjoy free time.

Statistics from the Office for National Statistics reveals that while the earning potential of UK professionals peaks during their 40s, it only drops slightly (by around £400 per year, on average) for comparable workers in their 50s. More to the point, following decades of hard work and putting money by for the future, today's over 50s are one of the wealthiest generations in British history. At the moment, more than 89% of disposable wealth in the UK is controlled by the over 50s - and they seem determined to make the most of it.

Today, one in five members of this group is self-employed, and there are more than 1.7m entrepreneurs aged 50 and over in the UK. Of those who remain employed, 46% declare that they are not too old to find their dream job and pursue a new career, and 19% are actively considering it.

It seems also that this change is not driven primarily by a need for money: UK women over 50 account for 41% of the national spend on clothing, shoes and accessories (a total of £2.7bn), and spending on leisure activities and alcohol both show a rise in consumers older than 50.

What has driven this change? There are probably several factors. One, of course, is the fact that being over 50 now is nothing like it was a couple of generations ago. Today, thanks to modern health care, health awareness, better living standards and nutrition, the majority of over 50s live active, healthy lives and enjoy following their interests and passions. With life only halfway through, why slow down and limit either possibilities or income? In fact, research from the Careers Advice Service shows that almost half of people in this age group have more life goals now than they did when they were 30.

Another likely influence stems from the huge changes made to pensions and retirement arrangements over recent years. Retirement seems not to be a fixed event in workers' lives anymore; instead, many in the 50 plus generation seem to be flexing their working life to suit their changing circumstances, rather than bringing it to an end altogether.

For some this may be down to a lack of pension planning or funds, or the fear of being discriminated against in the workplace. For others it may be a lifestyle choice and for many, as has been shown, this time of life may just offer a great chance to do something new. Perhaps that is why so many in this group have stepped off the corporate ladder and joined the ranks of the self-employed.

Whatever is driving this change, the fact is clear that over 50s now are, as a group, wealthier, healthier and more active than ever before, and are making the most of these facts. Perhaps this flexible, adaptive attitude to changing times is yet another thing about this group that will inspire the younger generations to follow?