Pressure to Achieve: How Life Milestones Happen After 30
In 2019, Legal and General, one of the UK’s and Europe’s oldest — established in 1836 — and most successful insurance and asset management firms, commissioned a poll dubbed “Life according to Society.”
The poll involved 1682 adults, and its intent was to determine whether reality aligns with the popular social notion we place on having achieved most major milestones such as marriage, children, purchasing a house, and landing a dream job by age 30.
It asked respondents eight specific questions that sought to determine when people feel the most social pressure and the need to have achieved most of life’s milestones by a specific age, normally age 30.
Here is a summary of what this eye-opening poll revealed about living life according to society:
#: Most people do not get married by 30
One of the most revealing aspects of this research study was that despite the fact that the median age of newlyweds in the UK is 35.1 and 37.5 for women and men respectively, most people feel socially pressured to get married before turning 30.
Most of the respondents interviewed also indicated that they feel immensely pressured to have children and to be on the path to owning a house before turning 31. The truth, however and as illustrated by the data, is that for most people, marriage does not happen until the mid-30s.
#: Owning a home by age 30 is impossible for most people
Most people feel immense social pressure to own a home or be on the way to owning a home by age 30. While this is the general expectation, and while the average age of a first time homeowner in the UK is 31, the research does not back this notion.
According to the poll data analysed by the research team at Legal and General, even though 46% of respondents replied that they feel one should be a first time home owner or buyer while in their 20s, very few 20-somethings have the financial potential to buy a home – especially in a major city like London.
The research data actually indicated that most people in major cities get started on the property ladder in their mid to late 30s (35-39). The data also revealed that only a small percentage (35%) of those between 25-34 have the financial ability to own a house.
#: Millennials compare themselves to others the most
The revealing data showed that self-comparison is very common and that we are likely to compare ourselves to social media friends, work colleagues, and even family members. What the research revealed, however, is that compared to other generations, millennials, 25-34-year-olds, are more likely to play the self-comparison game.
The research indeed revealed that a whopping 76% of millennials compare themselves to workmates and friends a large percentage of the time, a factor that increases the pressure to have achieved important milestones by a specific age. In comparison, only 38% of those over 55 admitted to self-comparison.
#: Social pressure often leads to self-sacrifice
Achieving important goals and milestones takes time and consistent focus, a fact that, as the research revealed, most of us recognise. The research also noted that out of a desire to achieve personal and socially imposed milestones, most of us are likely to make painful self-sacrifices such as sacrificing our social lives in order to put in a bit of overtime at work.
Compared to other age groups, respondents aged 25-34 were 35% more likely to give up a social life in order to strive towards the aforementioned personal milestones; this is despite the research showing that most of these milestones happen for most people in their mid-30s. In comparison, only 13 of those over 55 were likely to do the same.