A growing number of us will live to 100, but there is no rule book for the second half of the journey. The Baby Boomers wrote the first chapters: get a good education, secure a job, build a career, start a family, educate your children. But then what?

The 40-, 50- and 60-somethings of today are looking forward to decades of good health ahead, with greater financial security than ever before thanks to 31 years of compulsory superannuation and rocketing property values.

They have an insatiable will to travel the world and a passion for lifestyle, leisure and the ‘‘good times’’ that no older generation could have afforded. They want to get to the good bits of life before they retire by enjoying their 50s and 60s as their kids become more independent.

That means using their hard-earned self-confidence to find new challenges that align more closely with their passions than their obligations, even if it means a downward shift in salary.

In the second half of life, some things that may not have seemed important or attainable move within reach. Like seeing the world, furthering your education or teaching others, really participating in family now you have the joyful years of grandparenting ahead, and being a more active part of the community.

If you’ve hit midlife, know your superannuation and investments are in place, and you’re confident that the way you have them invested will allow them to compound in the years before you retire, it takes the pressure off. It allows you to be curious about what work might feel more purposeful and what activities you could pursue that might give your life a greater sense of meaning.

For some, that means shifting from an executive role to a portfolio of nonexecutive and advisory roles centred around a core area of interest. For others, it is starting a business or stepping into a different field altogether. It will appeal to some to use their skills in a way that might leave a legacy by working for not-for-profits, charities or social impact ventures. Leaving a meaningful legacy becomes more important in the second half of life, and when I say legacy, I don’t mean leaving your kids an inheritance.

If we’ve got a shot at living to 100, then we need to start planning for the second half of life much earlier. Traditional retirement planning, retirement benchmarks and the software of major financial planning groups currently plans to about 88 years.

So the new paradigm is to understand your longevity, and get some professional advice to craft a robust financial plan that leans into it. Start saving early, diversify your investments, and give them plenty of time to compound.

Plan for pre-retirement | Notice the new phase of life that is emerging before retirement and the slow transition that the journey into retirement can become – embrace it. Set goals for these prime-time years and go out there and live well while you’re young-ish. Take a sabbatical, or a gap year, buy that caravan and take time to spend with your partner, kids and young grandkids. Don’t wish away your best years.

Keep learning | Too many people reach midlife and say to themselves ‘‘I’m too old to go back to university’’ or ‘‘I don’t have time to benefit from courses and a change in career direction.’’ Those are the old rules.

Challenge yourself to keep expanding your mind, your interests and continued education that will drive your fulfilment. You might just have decades to use all that knowledge and experience yet. You might have a whole third-act career ahead.

Portfolio life | Think about how you can reshape your skills and leverage your experience to land you in more flexible, enjoyable work and charitable roles. Portfolio careers are the ideal option for those who want choice, flexibility and excitement in their second half of life.

Your portfolio could be made up of a mix of paid and unpaid roles, and temporary and long-term tasks.

Build on your capabilities, and build up your portfolio so you can work on the things you choose for longer than previous generations, and reap the benefits, financially and socially.

Make your health your wealth Living longer requires a strong focus on health. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proactive preventive healthcare should become integral parts of everyone’s daily life. Invest time and effort in maintaining your physical, cognitive and mental health, with deeper self-awareness of when you’re letting things slip.

Embrace community | The longest, happiest lives in the world are lived in villages and towns where there is a very close-knit sense of community. So take the time to nurture your relationships and build lasting bonds with family, friends and the community you live in.

Invest in meaningful connections, and build a network of people around you that supports and enriches your life. Social isolation is one of the biggest issues among today’s older generations.

Lean into change | The only constant in life in the 21st century is change, and adapting to it gracefully is vital. Cultivate resilience, be open to new experiences, and welcome change as an opportunity for growth and discovery. Gone are the days when we could age bitterly. Consider the concept of ageing curiously instead. It’s much more appealing.SI

Bec Wilson is the author of How to Have an Epic Retirement and the host of the new podcast, Prime Time with Bec Wilson.