The midlife MOT: take control of your future now


What is the midlife MOT?

The midlife MOT is free online support to encourage people in their 40s, 50s and 60s to make more active planning in the key areas of work, wellbeing and money. It is aimed at both employees and employers and can help you to make choices that will ensure the future retirement you want.

Why is this important to me?

At some stages in your working life, you could be at risk of losing your job unexpectedly, including through redundancy. Additionally, health problems and caring responsibilities disproportionately affect people over 50. Once out of work, it can be difficult to return.

Many people underestimate what they will need in later life. Planning ahead can boost your resilience in crucial areas. Start your midlife MOT journey now by asking yourself:

My work: Am I confident I can continue in my current job, or do I need to protect myself by reskilling? Will caring responsibilities or other priorities mean I need to work more flexibly?

My health: Am I taking the right steps to maintain or improve my health? Would workplace adjustments make it easier for me to stay in my job for longer?

My money: Do I have enough savings to maintain my current lifestyle? I’m confused about pensions, what are my options?

My work and skills

As your situation changes as you get older, you may find that flexible working arrangements can make a difference.

Workers often view flexible working as a good way of helping them to stay in work. You have a right to request flexible working (external website) arrangements from your employer. You may also consider becoming self-employed (external website).

Read examples of people who have benefitted from flexible working and learn about which industries and sectors are recruiting right now.

In addition to providing financial support, work can give you routine and the opportunity to develop a social life. You can take a look at the latest job vacancies, and get tips on how to apply for a new role on the Jobhelp website.

Keeping up to date and learning new skills are important as you get older. The National Careers Service (external website) provides information, advice and guidance to help you make decisions on learning, training and work. You can take a free skills assessment to find out what kind of jobs could suit you. If you need further support, you can speak to an adviser, online or on the telephone.

Support is also available for those in Scotland (external website) and Wales (external website).

You could also complete a free online course from The Skills Toolkit that will boost your skills and job prospects. There are over 70 high-quality courses to choose from that can be done at a time and place that suits you. Visit: gov.uk/theskillstoolkit for more details.

My health

Many people have to give up work due to their health but suitable paid work can be good for your health and wellbeing. Giving up work might be avoidable if support is sought at the right time.

You can also search NHS Better Health (external website) for free tools, advice and guidance on how to work towards a healthier lifestyle, whether it’s losing weight, getting more active, looking after your mental health, or quitting smoking. You may be entitled to a free NHS health check (external website) every 5 years. The Heart Age Test (external website) tells you your heart age compared to your real age.

Tips and advice about your mental health and wellbeing are also available on the Every Mind Matters (external website). Expert guidance and resources on how to take care of your musculoskeletal health (bones and joints) can keep you active and healthy.

You may also be eligible for support under the Access to Work (external website) scheme.

Support is also available for those in Scotland (external website), Wales (external website) and Northern Ireland (external website).

The peak age of caring is between 55-64 years. Managing caring for others with work responsibilities can sometimes be challenging, this can have a negative effect on your employment. Getting support at the right time could help you balance paid work and caring responsibilities.

Carers UK (external website) offers expert, tailored information and advice if you are caring for someone and are struggling to balance your responsibilities with work. They can offer help online and over the phone.

My money

How strong are your finances if your circumstances change? Do you know when you will have built up enough of a pension pot to retire and carry on doing the things you enjoy?

The Money and Pensions Service (external website) offers free information on your financial options, including workplace and personal pensions which could enable you to better manage your finances. If you are self-employed, you can have a free one-to-one midlife MOT (external website).

You can get help to plan your retirement income (external website). You can also check your State Pension (external website) online to find out how much you might get and when you can claim it. The full new State Pension is around £9,350 a year, but yours may be more or less, as it’s based on your National Insurance record.

Are you an employer?

Did you know that by the year 2021, one in three of the working-age population will be over 50? You can realise the benefits of an older workforce by supporting a midlife MOT in the workplace. Toolkits are available for larger (external website) and smaller (external website) employers alongside an employer guidance pack (pdf) which details changes you can make in the workplace.

If you’re considering recruiting new employees, you can take a look at what government support is on offer and get tips on recruiting inclusively.

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