Great expectations of the teenage mind

Turning 30 sounds far away right? But for many, this is a landmark age, that we all seem to have great expectations of where we’ll be when we finally leave our twenties!

We carried out some research on fellow teenagers, which revealed the milestones people believed they would 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. Sound familiar? Or way off your radar?!

Career expectations

When it comes to careers, nearly half (45%) 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.

Our findings showed the top choices for careers were mainly traditional ‘professions’ such as:

  • Engineer
  • Teacher
  • Psychologist
  • Scientist
  • Lawyer
  • Nurse

However, these choices were closely followed by one in 10 (11%) wanting a more modern career - like becoming a video game developer, blogger, Instagram star or coder. As well, teens said the reason for their chosen carer was more focused on helping society rather than gaining social status.

Salary expectations

Following on from careers, what was also commonly found from the research was that most teens today are expecting to earn £70,000 on average by the time they turn 30, which is nearly three times the actual average salary for 30-year olds*, and earnt by just one in 20 adults in the country during their entire career**. As you can tell, this is a very high expectation!

However, 52% said making a lot of money comes second to doing something they are passionate about versus 48% who said otherwise.

Key milestones of life

It’s not all just about careers and money, there’s lots of other goals wanting to be achieved throughout life leading up to the grand age of 30! When it comes to life’s other milestones, half (47%) believe they will be on the property ladder by 30 and want to own a house, with 41% expecting to be married with children. Check out our table below showing what the average expected age was for some of the key milestones expected in life.

Milestone 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

As you can see, there are a lot of goals wanting to be achieved before the age of 30, and they tend to come with some big costs! So, you’re not alone if you also dream big but also you don’t need to feel overwhelmed if you haven’t thought that far ahead. We’ve got plenty of articles full of handy tips and options to help you start thinking about and saving for some of these milestones.

* Office for National Statistics (2018) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings – https://www.onefamily.com/our-story/media-centre/2019/great-expectations-teenagers-expect-earn-70k-age-30/
** HMRC (2018) - Distribution of total income before and after tax by gender: 2015 to 2016 - https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/685512/NS_Table_3_3_1516.xlsx