According to recent research, people tend to characterise individuals over the age of 50 as truly wise.

Gandhi, Confucius, Socrates, Queen Elizabeth and the Pope are nominated by the public as individuals who exhibit shrewd perception, rather than younger well-known figures.

Our American partners asked their readers exactly what they had learned by the age of 50 (see below).

Do you agree or disagree with the results? If so, please comment at the bottom of the page.

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  • A Good Friend

    Better yet -- a few: one who makes you laugh, one who listens without judgment and one who challenges you.

  • A Good Book...

    ...always on hand to return to.

  • At Least One Great Love Of Her Life...

    ...and preferably more than one. Letting go of the idea that there is a "one and only" person out there for you is a sign of maturity. By opening your mind and your heart to the possibility -- the reality -- that you can fall in love again, you remove a big obstacle to happiness.

  • A Go-To Purse...

    ...that's never out of style.

  • Great Black Boots...

    ...to go with everything.

  • A Comfortable Bed and Bedding

  • A Good Vibrator

  • A Treasured Hobby

  • A Secret Crush

  • A Regular Exercise Routine...

    ...ideally one that involves friends.

  • At Least One Amazing Travel Experience

  • The Grace To Accept A Compliment

  • A Recognition Of Your Strengths...

    ...and how to use them.

  • A Handle On Your Buttons...

    ...and how to deactivate them.

  • An Appreciation That Gratitude Is The Basis For A Happy Life

  • The Experience To Know That Loving Is An Act Of Giving, Not Receiving

  • The Understanding That Money Is Not Happiness, Power Or Security...

    ...but just a tool to help you get the things you value; and that you can often get many of them without a lot of money.

  • A Love Of Life-Long Learning

    Life ends when your mind shuts down, not when your body fails you.

  • The Smarts Not To Be A Victim

    Self-sufficiency is part of wholeness.

  • The Awareness That The Grass Is NEVER Greener On The Other Side Of The Fence

  • The Ability To Laugh At Yourself...

    ...and with others. A sense of humor is a great tonic for the mind and soul.

  • Fearlessness!

    With decades of experience under your belt, you know how to move forward with courage and confidence.

  • Belief In, And Support Of, A Cause Higher Than Oneself

  • A Quiet, Verdant Place...

    ...to disappear and appreciate Mother Nature.

  • Eight Hours Of Sleep On A Regular Basis!

  • Louise Percy

  • nunimine

  • The Ripe Report

  • "That You Really Didn't Have To Put Up With All That Bs...

    ...and you are perfect just the way you are." --Esther Petrilli-Massey

  • "Hopefully A Wonderful Relationship...

    ...and 'true' self confidence and self esteem." --David M. Logan

  • "All Of The 'Stuff' Doesn't Matter."

    "The big house you wanted...well, as you get older it gets empty. Then you want to downsize and purge the stuff!" --Patti McGee Thompson

  • "Know That Spark Inside That Connects You To What Really Matters."

    "If you let it take the lead, you'll deepen toward more honesty, creativity, meaning, purpose and joy." --Christine Castigliano

  • "Their Own Bank Account"

    --Kathy Abriola

  • "That Beauty Is Not One Size Fits All!"

    --Patricia Crisafulli, Huff Post Blogger

  • "The Ability To Say 'No' Without Guilt."

    --Pam Darville

  • "Successful Adult Children Who Do Not Live At Home."

    --Pam Darville

  • Beth Turnage

  • Lori McCoy

  • Celeste Bateman

  • "An Expensive Piece Of Jewelry That Was Purchased By Herself."

    "A really good sex life with a least one partner (past/present) a knowledege that info. constantly changes and we have to keep moving with it." --Linda

  • "Have The Courage To Stand Up For What You Believe In Without Fear Or Apology."

    --Jennifer

  • "A Relationship With The God Of The Universe."

    --Cheryl Meglio

  • "Reconciliation With 'MOM' Whether She Is Alive Or Deceased."

    --Cathy

  • "What Other People Think Of You Is None Of Your Business!"

    --Irene Dittrich

  • 'Don't Sweat The Small Stuff', Don't 'Spin Your Wheels' Over The Insignificant....

    "The ability to prioritize what is important, will truly impact your life, or has significant negative consequences vs what is just an 'issue' that gets under your skin, or a perceived problem that is more trouble than it truly is worth. We often tend to get wound-up about things that really aren't as important as we think they are. If we stop and think---'Will this truly have a positive or negative effect on my life (or others'), or is it just something that is bugging me and I'm spinning my wheels trying to deal with it?'" --Chris

  • "Her Own Income."

    --Geri Brin

  • "How To Keep Her Heart Healthy."

    --Geri Brin

  • "Having The Confidence To Take Your Own Self Out To Dinner...

    ...when no one is available to go with you." --"Lucy and Ethel"

  • "By 50 A Woman Should Take A No Guilt Day At Home In Her Jammies Whenever She Needs One."

    --jbeebe92

  • "Regularly Scheduled Manicures, Pedicures And Fresh Flower Deliveries."

    --Anne Marshall