You might have spent a large part of your first 50 years raising a family, making a home, settling into a secure job, building a nest egg. But what now? Turning 50 can be a daunting time, or it can mean a whole new lease of life. And while ageing gracefully might not be on your mind as you welcome in your 51st year, ageing well should be.
Living the dream
Fifty-year-old Simon Buckley was a jobbing photographer and shopkeeper for years before realising his dream of becoming an artist. “I kept looking for business ideas, and I was sort of trapped by that mentality,” he says. After his marriage broke up just before he turned 50 he seized the opportunity to change paths. “I didn’t compromise in my intentions and it seems to have paid off,” says Buckley.
Facing your fears
What does turning 50 years old mean for Buckley? “I have to say I was nervous of it,” he says, “but life is short, and each day is there to be valued. I now love being in my fifties. I feel that I've finally got some wisdom, but still with enough energy to live a very full and active life. I go out dancing with my kids, wild camping with my best friend who I've known since art college, and I'm trying new ideas all the time. I've got my teen spirit working alongside the wisdom of a middle-aged man.”
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However, a bit of financial planning in earlier life could have made Buckley’s post-50 dreams even smoother. “If I could speak to my 30-something self, I’d say adhering to the rules of finance in a more astute way would have helped enormously. Keeping on top of cash flow, making sure my books are up to date, sticking to budgets better and avoiding debt – the basics. Doing the basics may seem boring, but the system is what it is. It actually brings you more liberty if you understand this.”
For Fiona Marshall, hitting her fifties gave her the impetus to spend time on what makes her happy. “I’ve started learning Japanese and a couple of years ago I began singing lessons. I was always too nervous, even though singing is something I love to do.” Marshall says, “Suddenly I had the energy and momentum to step way outside my comfort zone.” Marshall has been a vegan for years but, she says, “Although I’ve always been reasonably healthy, it took a few years, and now I have found what works for me: my regular exercise routine, cardio, weight lifting, yoga and ‘Body Groove’ means I have so much energy. I am happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. Turning 50 for me was a good thing. I stopped caring about what other people thought and started really enjoying life.”
It is also a great time to consider a different sort of life insurance. Over-50s life cover is ideal if you just need money to go towards funeral costs, enabling you to continue living your dreams without the worry of how your loved ones will cover the expense of all those extra people celebrating your life.