More than half of over-50s have not ticked a single thing off their bucket list

Mature African woman smiling with her hands raised in the air during a scenic road trip with her husband in their convertible
Most over-50s wish they had started on their bucket list earlier in life, a new survey reveals. (Getty Images)

Having a bucket list is a great way to keep hopes and ambitions alive, as it inspires people to strive for what they really want.

But new research shows that for many people, bucket lists remain just that - lists, instead of transforming into real-life experiences. More than half (61%) of Britons over the age of 50 have yet to tick a single item off their bucket list, according to a survey by probate brokers Final Duties.

The company found that 73% of over-50s wish they had started ticking things off their bucket list earlier in life. Their reasons for not completing any of the dreams on their lists range from the heavy cost of what they want to do, to their growing age and health restrictions, to work and family commitments.

Bucket lists are growing even more popular among the older generations, with more than one in five (22%) already having one.

But just 4% of those surveyed said they have fully completed their bucket list. Meanwhile, 20% said they have ticked off some but not all of their goals, and 15% had ticked off just a few things.

Travel-related experiences were the most common bucket list items among those surveyed, followed by maintaining good financial health. Some people aimed even higher with their dreams, such as wanting to travel to space.

These are the top 20 bucket list items among the respondents, ranging from travelling the world and learning new skills, to personal goals and loftier ambitions.

  • Going on a Kenyan safari

  • Driving Route 66

  • Visiting Barcelona’s nearly-finished Sagrada Familia

  • Going on an Antarctic cruise

  • Learning to fly a helicopter or plane

  • Learning an instrument or DJing

  • Afternoon tea with Brad Pitt

  • Going sky diving

  • Learning stunt driving

  • Seeing the ballet

  • Seeing ABBA Voyage virtual show

  • Learning a new language

  • Owning an allotment

  • Winning the lottery

  • Meeting dream man or woman

  • Living longer than parents and grandparents

  • Paying off the mortgage

  • Becoming prime minister

  • Seeing the UK rejoin the EU

  • Stopping electric cars from taking over the world

Commenting on the findings, Jack Gill, managing director of Final Duties, said: "A bucket list is a great way to really think about what it is that you hold important, what it is you would like to achieve and how you can go about doing so.

"Particularly in later life they can be a useful tool when it comes to prioritising our goals and ambitions, but as our research shows, the later you leave it the harder it becomes.

"But you don’t have to travel the world, run a marathon or jump out of a plane for your ambitions to be bucket list worthy. As some of the responses we received demonstrate, they can be as simple as going to a gig, paying off the mortgage or donating to charity.

"You can’t take it with you and if you don’t the Government will take a healthy slice of it via inheritance tax anyway, so you may as well make the most of it while you can and fill your life, and the lives of your loved ones, with enjoyment and lasting memories."

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