Here’s what you should have achieved by 32, study says

Pets, kids and your own home are all on the list of things to have achieved by 32.

Pets, kids and your own home are all on the list of things to have achieved by 32. Photo: Getty

By the age of 32, you should have met your life partner, moved in together, bought a car and a home, had children, bought a pet and have taken a gap year, according to new British research.

A whopping 37 per cent of people surveyed said they needed to buy a home by their early 30s to feel successful, followed closely by meeting a long-term partner (27 per cent) and having children (27 per cent).

Three in five people surveyed said they would feel disappointed, upset and frustrated with themselves if they didn’t reach their life goals by the target age. Sound familiar?

A local perspective

Here in the antipodes, a desire to own a home is deeply embedded in the Australian psyche, but skyrocketing property prices, higher educational attainment rates and rising inequality mean many of us are purchasing our first digs when we’re well past 32.

A report by Real Estate View found 57 per cent of first-home buyers were in their 30s and 40s, and just 17 per cent were in their mid to late 20s. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the average age of first-home buyers in New South Wales was higher than the national average.

home ownership

Despite the increasing cost of owning your own home, it’s a goal many young Australians still hold. Photo: Getty

As a result, new research by social research firm McCrindle found we are increasingly moving toward choosing freedom, travel and flexible lifestyles over owning a house on a quarter-acre block. This trend is especially prevalent among young people, who rate travelling overseas as a greater financial achievement than buying a home.

“A lot of Gen Ys still have the dream of owning their own home,” says Ashley Fell from McCrindle. “It’s probably changed now to an apartment or something a little bit smaller, but that dream is still there. However, we see in our research that Gen Y are more willing to spend their money on travel.

“That’s a big difference between the British results and what’s happening here. Australians love to travel and it’s definitely on their financial list of goals even more so than buying their own home.”

kids car

Having kids ranked high on the list of must-dos. Photo: Getty

Loved up or flying solo?

When it comes to partnering up and procreating, research suggests many of us are on track to meet the cut-off. Just.

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the median age for first marriages is 30 for men and 28 for women, with 77 per cent of couples living together before tying the knot.

The average age for first-time mothers increased from 27.8 in 2003 to 28.6 in 2013.

“There are a range of economic and social factors that are delaying these traditional life markers, such as we’re staying in education longer and, as a result, starting our earning years later,” says Fell.

man with kids

The median age for Australian men to get married is 30, while most women start having kids at about the age of 28. Photo: Getty

Take the pressure down

The social pressure to keep pace with married, home-owning friends with 2.5 perfectly groomed children can be overwhelming, but organisational psychologist Dr Melissa Marot from The Mind Room says flexibility and living according to your own values is the real key to a successful life at any age.

“If we’re very rigid about goals and not flexible or adaptable we might put ourselves under a lot of stress and pressure to meet these goals that might be quite difficult to achieve, which can lead to stress, pressure, anxiety and depression,” she says.

“Some people resort to alcohol and it can even lead to relationship breakdown.

“Try to anchor yourself in your values. Think about what your strengths are, what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing, then start to create your life goals around that.”

woman on floor

Putting too much pressure on yourself can hold you back from being successful. Photo: Getty

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.