It is a claim which has long offered solace to those facing the onset of middle age but new research suggests those pinning their hopes on the promise that life begins at 40 might have to wait at least another five years.
Polling found that those over the age of 45 are more content with life, happier in their relationships and feel more in touch with the world than their younger counterparts.
And despite living through what is widely considered to be the most pressurised period of life, almost half of men approaching retirement believe their life has got better since turning 45.
The YouGov survey involving 2,000 adults age between 25 and 65, was carried for 'Love Begins' a dating agency which targets middle aged people.
Participants were asked to rate their overall quality of life by assessing aspects ranging from their health and finances to their awareness of world events or appreciation of the arts.
Those over 45 emerged happier overall with 61 per cent rating themselves as content with life, compared with only 56 per cent of those under 45.
Meanwhile 83 per cent of the over-45s felt they had strong relationships with family and friends, compared with only 73 per cent of their younger counterparts.
Over 45s also felt more in touch with world events, with 76 per cent confident on this measure compared with 72 per cent of the younger group.
In a separate poll of men over 55, 42 per cent said they believed their lives had improved since the age of 45.
Marketing experts have nicknamed the age group “midlife risers”.
But the findings of the UK’s official “well-being” index show that those in their 40s and early 50s have the highest levels of anxiety and depression of any group, a factor which drops dramatically when they reach retirement.
Samantha Bedford from Love Begins At said: “It is not about fading into grey, it is about moving into a new stage of life, post-children and preparing to try something new.”