Crisis? What crisis? Mid-life makeovers in paradigm shift

James Callaghan Prime Minister of the United K...

Crisis? What crisis?

Survery reveals middle-aged trends changing

By ECM Plus staff

ECM Plus +++ Men and woman in their forities and fifties are taking ownership of their existential questions and seizing the opportunity to take real life-changing and self-affirming steps in their life, according to a new survey carried out by OnePoll for credit monitoring firm Experian.

The so-called ‘mid-life crisis’ is often perceived as a ‘curse’ of middle age, associated with men of a certain age attempting to relive their youth through extravagant purchases like sports cars and designer clothing. But as average life expectancy, and with it the age of retirement, creeps ever upward, this is all changing for men and women in their 40s and 50s.

The survey found that 85% of 40-59 year-olds surveyed by Experian CreditExpert had felt the need to change their life situation in the last five years, with responses demonstrating that, far from the expected plans to splash out on cosmetic surgery or fast cars, mid-lifers are making decisions that directly impact their work and life happiness, giving themselves a second chance at achieving their ambitions and desires – from changing career or learning new skills to seeing the world.

Apparently, 70% gave ‘travelling the world’ as one of their goals in later life, with the next most popular options being ‘spending time learning new things’ (46%) and ‘dedicating my life to a favourite hobby’ (29%). By comparison, only 13% (and only 3% of men) would have a cosmetic makeover, and purchasing a sporty new run-around did not feature at all.

“People entering their late 40s in 2011 are still only halfway through their working lives” commented Pete Turner, managing director of Experian Interactive. “These results show that, far from throwing money at new toys in a ‘quick fix’, many are channelling their energy towards making positive, fulfilling changes. Preparing for the ‘mid-life makeover’ by cleaning up your credit rating can, for many, be the first step towards achieving those dreams.”

The most clear gender divide was over what middle-aged men and women were most hoping to achieve by making life changes. Among men, gaining a better work/life balance was the most popular answer which was given by 32% of males (compared with just 20% of females). By comparison, women’s priorities were focused on adventure and gaining new life experiences with 36% giving this answer, compared with 30% of males.

Simple life changes were shown to have the biggest effect on most people’s happiness, as ‘making a career change’ and ‘making new friends’ were both expressed as having had a significant positive impact on their lives in recent years by 51% of those polled.

Finance was predictably shown to play a big part in achieving one’s life goals. 69% said that a sudden change in their financial situation, such as an unexpected windfall or pay rise, would be the factor that was likely to kick-start their own ‘mid-life makeover’. 74% felt that their financial situation was the only thing still holding them back from making significant changes.

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