New research by Trajectory for Cigna Insurance Services (Cigna) has revealed that life begins later than we might think, with middle age stretching to 68 years old.

Since the 1930s there has been a perception that we are old before our time but in the opinion of UK adults, old age starts much later than that today. Indeed, those in their 50s and early 60s are happier than they were before turning 50, and many are planning big for the future.

Key findings include:

  • Ambitious life plans: Far from expecting a quiet life, people over 50 anticipate at least five more significant “life events”, ranging from divorce and dating to moving house, re-entering education, or starting a new business.
  • Enjoying life: 64% of over 65s agree they have enjoyed life much more since passing the age of 50, while more than half (51%) feel that as a nation, we unfairly treat older people as “past it”, dismissing their potential to contribute to society.
  • Attitudes: Many over 65s resent companies’ attitudes towards older people – 36% of over 65s complain that businesses treat them as “old” when they don’t feel it, while almost half (49%) specifically level this complaint at insurers who focus on funeral planning and ill health.
  • Characteristics: Across all ages, words most commonly associated with ageing include “experience”, “knowledge”, “settled”, and “wisdom”. However, young males are more likely than their female counterparts to link negative terms – such as “loneliness” and “fear” – with being older.
  • Discrimination: Frustrated by low expectations of them, almost a third (28%) of over 50s have lied about their age (some on a regular basis). Women are most likely to hide their ages while shopping – particularly for clothes – or when they reach milestone birthdays, whilst men are more likely to be untruthful with friends, or when dating.
  • Tribes: The study uncovered five broad tribes of older people – upbeat strivers, grown-ups, hedonists, pessimists, and chillaxers. Each tribe has distinctive characteristics, indicating the diverse nature of lifestyles among Britain’s new mature generation.

In the clip below, Trajectory Chief Exec Paul Flatters discusses the findings on London Live.