Research on older people has tended to focus on those aged 60 and over, reflecting pension age eligibility. Yet this does not necessarily represent when ageing becomes a source of vulnerability. The “near old”, aged 50–59, are preparing for the transition to old age. The chapter employs life course theory as the analytical framework. Data from the first wave of the 2008 South African National Income Dynamics Study is used to compare the employment, income, and health situation of the African near-old with that of those at younger and older ages. If only the median income is considered, many Africans receive their highest income when they retire. Although the near-old may be vulnerable, both economically and in terms of their health, once education, location, and sex are controlled for, this group is neither more likely to be without formal employment nor to have lower incomes than those in younger age groups. Therefore the proposed vulnerability of the near-old is only confirmed in relation to health status.