The Open University (OU), in partnership with Legal & General, have launched the Midlife MOT; a free, educational course, covering three key areas identified by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP): work, wealth and wellbeing.
Created by OU’s experts, including Dr Jitka Vseteckova from the Faculty of WELS, and leveraging Legal & General’s extensive knowledge on retirement finances, the Midlife MOT has been designed to support those aged 40 to 60 by giving them the tools and knowledge to approach mid and later life with confidence.
The course is a timely exercise for many, as today’s midlifers are facing a series of challenges. More than six million people aged 40 to 60 (33%) are currently providing financial support or unpaid care to at least one loved one, on top of their job and other family commitments. The support required of people in midlife has a significant impact on their lives, effecting their own work, wealth and wellbeing. Two out of five people in this age group (42%) feel overwhelmed by their commitments on at least a weekly basis, while 800,000 people (4%) have left work in the last 18 months due to family commitments.
The impact of Covid, and the cost-of-living crisis has brought these challenges and the need for more support around work, wealth and wellbeing into even sharper focus. This has been recognised by the DWP which has given a £400,000 funding boost for Midlife MOTs, to help people take stock of their health, skills and wealth as part of later-life planning.
Emma Byron, Managing Director, Legal & General Retirement Solutions, said:
“We know that midlife is a time when many people are facing complex challenges, unique to their age group; wondering about the next stage in their career, juggling support for family members young and old and thinking about how to fund retirement. That’s why at Legal & General, we have created a Midlife MOT course. The positive response to our pilot shows it’s a timely exercise for many and one that will allow those in midlife to have confidence in the next stage of their life.”
Dr Jitka Vseteckova, Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Care contributed her expertise on Ageing Well, to help shape the Wellbeing section of the MOT. She said:
“Staying well as you reach midlife becomes increasingly important. Making small changes to your lifestyle can potentially make a significant difference later down the line, improving your natural resilience. The Wellbeing section is based around the Five Pillars of Ageing Well, which help you look at your physical and mental health. It is important that we are doing all we can to stay well and healthy for as long as possible, so I’d encourage everyone to take the Midlife MOT.”
The Midlife MOT course, aimed at those aged 40-60, covers the key subject areas of wealth, work and wellbeing.
You look at how to get your personal finances in order both for today’s needs and for later life. The course covers budgeting, how to cut spending painlessly, reorganising your debts and how to build up your investments to supplement your pension in later life. There’s a ten-point checklist too that identifies what areas of your finances are in order and which need attention.
Then you get the chance to review your working life – is it the right time to change job, start a new career or even start a business? Or you may just want a steer on how to make more of the opportunities available at your current employer. You begin this part of the course by reflecting on what you really want from work and what would give you greatest satisfaction before assessing the different paths you could take.
In the third part of the course you explore your wellbeing – checking your physical and mental health. How healthy is your current lifestyle? You assess this with an interactive quiz that also provides tips on how to improve your wellbeing. This part of the course is arranged around the five pillars of wellbeing – nutrition, hydration, physical activity, cognitive stimulation and social stimulation. And links are provided to enable you to explore in detail specific ways to check and improve your wellbeing – for example with exercise routines.