‘Be yourself’ and ‘be confident’ are top pieces of advice seniors would wish to give their 18-year-old selves

07 January 2021

Research has found that seniors would choose to give advice relating to personal confidence and the importance of individuality to themselves at age 18, if anything were possible.

Over 50s advice to 18-year-old selves

The poll found that over 50s also have concerns around money, with many respondents offering advice relating to financial security.

Our recent survey has found that many seniors wish they had been more confident when they were younger. The survey sought to find out how people over the age of 50 would have behaved differently in their youth with the benefit of hindsight. In total, 631 people were asked: “If you could give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?”

The results showed that advice relating to having the confidence to pursue ideas or goals or simply to be oneself were most common. More specifically, answers included: ‘be braver’ and ‘be more confident to go for what you want’. Low self-confidence remains a problem for youngsters today, with low self-esteem relating to mental health issues frequently featuring in mainstream media.

Another popular theme for responses related to career choices. Many seniors said they would advise their younger selves to not be afraid to swap career early on or choose a different university degree. ‘Concentrate on your career’ was one answer indicative of a common theme which advocated working hard to achieve a more rewarding occupation. However, a similar number of respondents took the opposite approach and recommended taking life less seriously by living more freely and seizing the day in youth. One such answer read: “Do all you can while you’re young and fit – experience life and have variety in everything you do.”

Financial security is also clearly important for those in later life, with many people aged 50 and above choosing to mention money and making wise financial decisions. One respondent summed up the general feeling by saying: “Learn the value of money.”

Finally, while the vast majority of respondents chose to issue advice which would better equip their younger selves to deal with life, some offered more specific guidance. One answer read: “Don’t marry the first person who asks!”

Marketing Manager, Emma Simpson, said: “It was extremely insightful to read through these answers to see how people with life experience see things. Learning that many seniors wish they were more confident when they were younger is very interesting as this is something young people today can learn from.”

While being more confident and true to yourself topped the list of advice over 50s would give to their 18-year-old selves, many responses related to financial security and the importance of making sound decisions with money. Ecclesiastical Planning Services works together with quality funeral directors to offer people a secure way of making financial provision for their own funeral.

Source: OnePoll research of 631 men and women aged 50 and above on behalf of Ecclesiastical Planning Services, September 2019.