When I saw the results of this latest study, where 1000 people over 50 were asked what their proudest achievements in life were, I was fairly confident that I could guess the top 3 on the list, but I was wrong.
It seems that number one on the list of lifetime achievements was something practical – paying off the mortgage!
Other accomplishments featuring high on the list were keeping children on the straight and narrow and achieving a 30 year marriage.
Other life goals it was deemed ‘important’ to achieve were avoiding a criminal record, staying faithful to a partner, reaching a salary of £40,000 and becoming a parent.
The study, which was commissioned by Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK, saw being charitable and living to help other people close the top 20 but nearly half (45%) felt that they hadn’t been charitable enough in their life so far.
Achievements which narrowly missed the top 20 were learning a new language, volunteering for charity and driving the car you’ve always dreamt of.
Additionally, exactly half of the 1,000 over 50s studied felt they had successfully ticked off the majority of their life ‘to do’ list.
When asked to reflect honestly on their life just 14% of people felt they would be able to look back and say they contributed to a bigger, more meaningful cause.
But, despite tough financial times, one in seven is currently aiming to leave money in their will to aid a charity or good cause.
Finding true love and visiting more than eight countries were among the top 20 biggest achievements.
Making time to watch the children grow up or being home from work to tuck them in occasionally was deemed an essential to any life well lived, while avoiding unemployment was seen as a massive achievement.
And keeping a clean driving licence, staying close to relatives and living as much of life as possible for other people is what counts for the nation’s silver generation.
Looking forward, one in four over 50s hopes to try and do something selfless or charitable with their remaining time.
Top 20 biggest achievements in life
1. Paying off the mortgage
2. Keeping kids on the straight and narrow
3. Maintaining a strong bond with your children
4. Having a marriage that lasts more than 30 years
5. Getting married
6. Staying faithful to your partner
7. Being able to support your family financially
8. Finding true love
9. Making time to watch the children grow up
10. Supporting children through university
11. Not having a criminal record
12. Maintaining a strong bond with your relatives
13. Obtaining a degree
14. Never having experienced unemployment
15. Travelling to somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
16. Being home to put the kids to bed most nights
17. Being able to afford nice holidays
18. Always having a clean driving licence
19. Being charitable
20. Living as much as you can to help other people
Do you agree? What would you add to the list?