5 min read

Great expectations: teens expect to earn £70k by age 30

Posted in: Corporate

  • On reaching their 30th birthday, teenagers expect to earn three times the current average salary for 30-year olds
  • Nearly half (45%) think they will already be in their dream job, with engineer, teacher and psychologist the most desirable roles
  • Half (47%) of teenagers expect to be on the property ladder before they are 30

Today’s teenagers expect to earn £70,000 on average by the time they turn 30 – nearly three times the actual average salary for 30-year olds[i], and earnt by just one in 20 adults in the country during their entire career[ii].

This is according to new research from financial services provider OneFamily, which reveals the milestones teens believe they will reach before their 30th birthday – from travelling the world aged 23, to getting married at age 27 and earning ‘a lot’ of money by age 29.

When it comes to their careers, nearly half (45%) of the driven youngsters think they will get their dream job by the time they reach 30, while one in five (21%) believe they will have set up their own business and be earning money this way.

Despite one in 10 (11%) youngsters wanting to pursue modern paths, like becoming a video game developer, blogger, Instagram star or coder, the most desired careers for young people are actually still traditional ‘professions’. The top three choices for occupations are engineer, teacher and psychologist, followed by scientist, lawyer and nurse (see notes to editors for full table), with helping society taking a significant lead over gaining social status (17% of teens saying this is the reason for their chosen career v 6%).

Although teenagers have high expectations when it comes to their future earnings, making a lot of money comes second to doing something they are passionate about (48% v 62%), showing that teenagers are taking other factors into consideration. More than two in five (43%) say working with nice people is important to them, while a quarter (25%) think it is important to do something that they are good at.

When it comes to life’s other milestones, youngsters have big dreams, with half (47%) of those who want to own a house believing they will be on the property ladder before they turn 30, and two in five (41%) expecting to be married with children.

Average expected age
Pass driving test 19
Go to university 19
Buy a car 20
Move out of the family home 22
Go travelling 23
Have their dream job 25
Start a business 27
Get married 27
Buy a home 28
Have children 28
Earn ‘a lot’ of money 29

Many youngsters want to achieve multiple goals with significant cost implications, with 16 per cent wanting to go travelling, get married and buy a home all by the time they are 30. To achieve all this, it’s likely they will need more than just their salary, as the average salary at age 30 is £23,700, just a third of the average teenager’s expected earnings. More than two in five (42%) say that their parents will help them out with some of their plans, while one in five (20%) expect to split the costs with a partner, and the same proportion would take out a loan.

Steve Ferrari, Managing Director of Children’s Savings at OneFamily, said:

“Many teens are expecting significantly higher than average salaries, which highlights the importance of helping them understand money. Parents can do this by encouraging their children to get a part-time job, or suggesting they save up their pocket money to afford bigger expenses.

“Today’s teens have many life goals, so we need to encourage a savings culture, helping them understand the benefits of saving into a product such as a junior ISA, to help them achieve their aspirations. It’s great to see teens choosing careers based on factors like giving back to society, or working with nice people, but it’s also important for them to understand what different careers pay and parents can help educate them on this and ensure they make the right career choices, so they can follow their life dreams.”

[i] Office for National Statistics (2018) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings – The average annual salary for a 30 year old is £23,700, which is three times less than the £70,000 teenagers expect to earn at that age.
[ii] HMRC (2018) Distribution of total income before and after tax by gender: 2015 to 2016