Turning 40 feels like an undeniably major milestone. However, while many people may associate hitting the big 4-0 with the beginning of some perceived downward trend—a life that's gone from being full of loud concerts and career mobility to one full of random aches and minivans—in many ways, being 40 is a totally different ballgame today than it was just 40 years ago. Not convinced? We've rounded up 40 ways being 40 has changed over the past 40 years—and some of it just might surprise you. And for more reasons to love this amazing decade, discover the 40 Best Things About Being in Your 40s.
You're Less Likely to Be Married
While being unmarried at 40 was virtually unheard of 40 years ago, today, it's actually pretty common to be still be single at 40 today. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, the number of never-married adults has continued to rise for the better part of the century, up to 50 percent today from 38 percent in the 1960s.
You're Less Likely to Have Kids
Don't have kids at 40? You're far from alone. The U.S. fertility rates hit an all-time low in 2017. However, if you still want to, don't worry—more people are having kids over 40 than ever before. And if you do have little ones—or might someday—make sure you know these 40 Parenting Hacks for Raising an Amazing Kid.
You're More Tech-Savvy
While it was unlikely that you'd own a home computer at any age back in 1978, 40-somethings today are highly computer literate. In fact, research suggests that more adults are digitally literate today than ever before, and 89 percent of adults aged 30 to 49 own a smartphone today.
You're Less Likely to Own a Home
Thank the housing crisis or your own stagnant wages, but you're significantly less likely to be a homeowner at 40 today than you would have been 40 years ago. The home ownership rate was 65 percent in 1978, but had dipped by nearly a full percentage point by 2018. And when you do secure your own piece of property, fill it with these 40 Items Every Man Over 40 Should Have in His Home.
You're No Longer Middle Aged
If you asked someone in 1978 if they were middle-aged, you'd likely get a resounding "yes" in response. However, many researchers suggest that the increase in human life expectancy has made middle age hit around 50. In fact, one report suggests that a contemporary 65-year-old is still well within the "middle-aged" category today.
You're Less Likely to Own a Car
An increasing push for walkable neighborhoods, better public transportation, and remote work mean that owning a car is less necessary for 40-somethings than ever these days. In fact, in 1978, more than 11 million cars were sold, versus just over 6 million in 2017.
You're Still In Your Prime
Not only are you no longer middle aged at 40 these days, you're actually still in your prime. Do Gwen Stefani, Sergey Brin, and Hugh Jackman seem over-the-hill to you?
You're More Likely to Be Well-Educated
As college degrees rapidly replace high school diplomas as the requirement for entry-level jobs, our workforce is progressively getting better-educated to keep up. While under 19 percent of the population had college degrees in 1978, more than 33 percent of the U.S. population has completed four or more years of college today.
You're More Likely to Go Back to School
Feel like heading back to school at 40? You're not the only one. In fact, thanks to schools offering increasingly flexible schedules and the rise in online courses, more adults are continuing their educations today than ever before.
You're More Likely to Live Another 40 Years
Back in 1978, the average life expectancy was just 77.3 years. Today, it's 78.7 years, meaning that if you're 40-something, the odds you're only halfway done are pretty good.
You're More Likely to Be Dating
As more adults remain unmarried, the number of 40-somethings dating has continued to grow. Fortunately, with the rise of dating apps geared toward people over 40, it's easier than ever to meet someone. Not sure where to look? Try The Best Dating Apps if You're Over 40 on for size.
You're More Likely to Be a Long Way From Retirement
While the number of workers still toiling away at their jobs at 65 or older was under 25 percent in the late 1970s, according to Boston College's Center for Retirement Research, today, the average American can expect to retire at 66, meaning that you've still got a long way to go if you're in your 40s.
You're More Likely to Have Student Loan Debt
Unfortunately, just because you've been out of college for around two decades by the time you're in your 40s doesn't mean you're free of your student debt. In fact, college tuition and fees are 1,120 percent higher today than they were 40 years ago.
You're Less Likely to Be Earning a Livable Wage
While you may be in your peak earning years during your 40s, you're also less likely to be earning a livable wage than you were 40 years ago. According to data from the US Census Bureau, the average American worker earns about $3,000 dollars less each year than a comparable employee did 40 years ago.
You're More Likely to Be in Therapy
Forty years ago, getting therapy wasn't exactly dinner table conversation. However, today, as the stigma about mental illness decreases, the number of adults in therapy has skyrocketed. In fact, one survey conducted by the American Psychological Association reveals that 48 percent of adults polled visited a mental health professional in the past year.
You're More Likely to Remarry
Just because your first marriage didn't work out and you're in your 40s doesn't mean you're likely to spend the rest of your life alone. In fact, according to Pew Research, remarriage is on the rise, with 40 percent of couples who wed in 2013 having at least one partner who'd been married before—up from just 13 percent half a century ago.
You're Less Likely to Be Unemployed
If you're hunting for a job at 40, you're more likely to find one than you would have been 40 years ago. Not only is 40 still the prime of your career today, the unemployment rate is nearly half what it was 40 years ago.
You're More Likely to Consider Yourself Young
Let's be real: 40 doesn't feel old anymore. While being a 40-something used to mean a house, kids, minivan, and a job you can't wait to be done with, today, being in your 40s still feels young.
You're Less Likely to Get Divorced
While we always hear that the divorce rate is hovering around 50 percent these days, research suggests that's not true. In fact, as a 40-something today, you're less likely to get divorced than you were 40 years ago. According to CDC data, the divorce rate in the U.S. peaked at around 40 percent in 1980 and has been declining ever since.
You're More Likely to Get Certain Cancers
If you're over 40 today, we've got some bad news about your health. The rates of prostate, breast, and colon cancer have been steadily on the rise, with the prostate cancer rate tripling over the past 28 years alone and the breast cancer rate doubling during the same period.
You're Less Likely to Have Wrinkles
Once you saw a wrinkle form 40 years ago, you had little choice but to wear it for pretty much the rest of your life. Today, however, with the advent of Botox, treating those lines is easier than ever—and more common, too. In 2017 alone, 7.23 million Botox injections were administered in the United States.
You're More Likely to Eat Out Regularly
With decreasing rates of men and women staying at home, convenience is being prioritized over home-cooked food more than ever today. In fact, Americans are spending more cash eating out today than ever before.
You Have More Friends
While 40 years ago, seeing your friends who lived across the country meant an expensive plane trip—often with kids in tow—it's easier to keep in touch than ever as a 40-something today. With more tech-literate 40-somethings in the world than ever before, it's pretty easy to maintain the friendships that matter most.
Your Kids Are Younger
Feel like the only over-40 parent toting around an infant? You're not alone. While having a kid over 40 may have gotten you some looks 40 years ago, women aged 40 to 44 were the only group in the U.S. with an increased birth rate last year—the highest rate of births among this group since 1966, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
You're More Likely to Be Obese
Bummer though it may be, you're significantly more likely to be obese at 40 today than you were 40 years ago. In fact, the difference in daily food supply for Americans increased by 700 calories from 1978 to 1999 alone, according to research conducted at Brown University.
You're More Likely to Stay Put
If packing up and moving seems like more of a headache than it's worth to you, you're not alone. In fact, Pew Research reveals that you're way less likely to pack up and move as an adult today than you were 40 years ago, thanks in large part to an increasingly aging population.
Your Retirement Fund is Comparatively Paltry
Not only are you less likely to be reaching retirement age at 40 than you were 40 years ago, the odds you're ready to retire, financially-speaking, are pretty darn slim. In fact, according to one survey, more than 50 percent of Americans will retire broke.
You Probably Don't Smoke
While there are some ways in which 40-somethings are a lot less healthy today than their counterparts four decades ago, there's still good news. 40-somethings today are at least less likely to smoke than they were back in 1978.
Changing Careers Still Feels Possible
Having a career used to mean starting at one company fresh out of high school or college and continuing to work there until retirement rolled around. However, today, as people spend more time in school and increasingly see 40 as a career mid-point, changing jobs at 40 is no longer the huge deal it once was.
You're Less Likely to Live in the Suburbs
That white picket fence on a cul-de-sac that was so important to your parents? Not a big priority for today's 40-somethings. If you're in your 40s today, you're more likely to be living in the city or out in the country than a suburb somewhere.
You're More Prone to Depression
Unfortunately, if you're in your 40s today, you're more likely to be diagnosed with depression than you were 40 years ago. While this may have something to do with the lessening stigma around mental illness, research published in Social Science & Medicine reveals that, among contemporary adults, depression tends to peak at 44.
You're Not Chained to Your Desk
40 years ago, having a job used to mean going to a physical place on a daily basis to work. However, today, more than 43 percent of workers in one survey claimed to be able to work remotely at least part of the time, and that number tends to be higher among employees with more experience, like those in their 40s.
But You Are Working Longer
The bad news, however, is that if you're a 40-something in an experienced position with a company, you're more likely to be working long hours today than you were 40 years ago. Long gone is the 40-hour workweek, with the average American working 47 hours a week today.
You Exercise Regularly
Now that your 40s are no longer considered middle-age, more people are taking care of themselves by exercising than ever. Today, 3 out of 4 adults exercise on a regular basis, according to the CDC. Back before 24-hour gyms and YouTube yoga? Yeah, not so much. And when you need some exercise inspiration, check out these 50 Amazing Over-40 Bodies.
You Still Dress Fashionably
Of the many ways you probably described your parents' clothing choices in their 40s, "fashionable" probably wasn't among them. However, with 40 no longer seeming like middle age to many of us and the business suit going the way of the dodo in the workplace, a 40-something today likely dresses a whole lot more fashionably than their counterparts some 40 years ago.
You're Less Politically Active
While you may proudly wear your "I Voted" sticker in your latest Instagram post, you're actually less likely to have voted at 40 today than as an adult 40 years ago. According to census data, the voting rate for a congressional election in 2014 was the lowest since data on the subject was first collected in 1978—41.9 percent in 2014 versus 48.9 percent in 1978.
You Travel More
Just because 40 is too old to claim YOLO as any kind of driving life motto doesn't mean that 40-somethings aren't still doing fun stuff. In fact, with the rise of cheap airfare and companies offering more flexible vacation plans, and fewer people having large families by the time they hit 40, you're more likely to have an exciting getaway planned than a 40-something would have been 40 years ago.
You're Less Likely to Qualify for Social Security
If you were a 40-something back in 1978, you could almost guarantee that you'd be raking in that sweet, sweet Social Security money by the time you hit retirement age. Today, proposed cuts to the program mean that many individuals are less likely to count on that cash.
You Live Somewhere Fun
While the pursuit of the nuclear family used to make a big house outside the city the top choice for 40-somethings, today, 40-somethings are more likely to prioritize convenience (and fun) over having a sprawling home. In fact, 54 percent of the global population lives in cities today—a greater percentage of city-dwellers than ever existed before.
You're Less Likely to Be a Grandparent
You may be a lot of things by the time you're in your 40s, but one thing you're unlikely to be is a grandparent. Over the past 40 years, the rate of teen pregnancy has sharply declined, and more people are having kids in their 30s and 40s than ever before, meaning that you've still got plenty of time to prepare for life as grandma or grandpa if you're in your 40s. And when you want to take your 40s by storm, start with these 40 Amazing Habits to Adopt After 40.
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Yes, it is possible to start a new career at 40 — or 50, or 60, for that matter. It might take some extra effort, but it's never too late to set new personal goals and professional goals and live a life that feels meaningful.How your body changes in your 40s? ›
In addition to irregular or more frequent periods, loss of estrogen might lead to symptoms like hot flashes, changes in bladder control, sleeping issues, vaginal dryness or irritation and decreased interest in or discomfort during sex.What to expect in your late 40s? ›
Midlife – Health in Your 40s
Your 40s, however, can be stressful as you become sandwiched between career choices, caring for aging parents, and/or raising a family. The pressures involved can lead to stress-related disorders such as depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
- Do something jaw-dropping.
- Embark on a really bizarre hobby.
- Drive your dream car.
- Try a watersport.
- Take flight.
- Unleash your inner dare devil.
- Sleep under the stars.
40 is the pivotal power age and here is why:
You can fall in love like a teenager and still have the time to grow up; You can marry a younger man without first having a facelift; You can have your first wedding anniversary; You can have children and still have the time to raise them.
- Investigate career options based on your strengths. ...
- Take up new hobbies and learn something new. ...
- Start living a life of intention. ...
- Experiment with new styles of clothing. ...
- Find new habits and get rid of old self-defeating habits.
Women may experience heavy bleeding, irregular periods, heavy cramping, longer or shorter duration, and changes in frequency. Perimenopause is not unlike puberty when a woman's body and mind are also changing, In fact, changes that occur in puberty commonly recur in menopause.Why is turning 40 a big deal? ›
"Turning 40 is a time of reflection to take stock of who you are at this time in your life, which include the values, friendships, jobs, relationships, and thoughts you hold dear," says clinical psychologist Tricia Wolanin Psy.What age does your body change the most? ›
Our Bodies Age in Three Distinct Shifts, According to More Than 4,000 Blood Tests. In terms of biological ageing, the body seems to shift gears three times during our lifespans, new research suggests – with 34 years, 60 years and 78 years the key thresholds.What stage of life is 40s? ›
Adult = 20-39 yrs. Middle Age Adult = 40-59 yrs. Senior Adult = 60+
Perimenopause can start as early as the late 30's or early 40's. During this time, egg production slows down and hormones change. Primarily, estrogen and progesterone production dwindles, and periods become irregular. These are the years before menopause.What should I focus on in my 40s? ›
- Figure out what a "cloud" is and how to use it. Shutterstock. ...
- Apply for TSA pre-check. ...
- Learn how to put on a duvet cover. ...
- Set up a solid emergency fund. ...
- Renew (or get) your passport. ...
- Get an annual checkup. ...
- Get an accountant. ...
- Start walking.
- Forgetting to Train the Brain.
- Poor Posture.
- Starting a Workout Program Too Fast.
- Stop Smoking.
- Not Monitoring Blood Pressure.
- Gaining Weight.
- Not Getting Screening for Low T.
- Ignoring Prostate Health & Not Getting Screened.
- Statement Earrings. ...
- A Carryall Tote. ...
- An Everyday Watch. ...
- Black Ankle Boots. ...
- Sunglasses That Actually Fit. ...
- Sleek Leather Sneakers. ...
- A Wallet You're Not Embarrassed By. ...
- A Chic-yet-sturdy Umbrella.
- You save more. ...
- Your net worth has grown larger. ...
- You spend less time on social media. ...
- You have less acne. ...
- You have better work-life balance. ...
- You need less sleep. ...
- You're likely in a healthy, happy relationship.
The number 40 is a very special number in numerology. It is often associated with change, new beginnings, and fresh starts. If you are experiencing a lot of changes in your life, it is likely that the number 40 is playing a role in those events.How can I look smart at 40? ›
- Smile more.
- Cut your hair.
- Tone down the branded clothing.
- Get clothing you're comfortable in.
- Stay hydrated.
- Skip the drying skincare products.
- Stop smoking.
- Wear red clothing.
Menopause is the transition every woman goes through at advancing age. Also called the ”change of life,“ it's the time in a woman's life when monthly periods come to an end.Does life get easier after 40? ›
Along with physical changes, you also undergo psychological and emotional changes. The good news is that one survey found that life is better once you turn 40. 40-year-olds tend to face less stress. They also tend to feel happier and more confident too.At what age does a woman's body start slowing down? ›
Why does metabolic rate slow down for women? Over time, studies have shown that metabolic rate (how fast we burn calories) starts to slow down by 2 to 3 percent each decade, beginning in our 20s. It becomes more noticeable between ages 40 and 60.
"Be wise with speed; a fool at forty is a fool indeed." "Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age."How do I turn 40 gracefully? ›
- Be kind to your skin. Your skin is your body's largest organ . ...
- Exercise. ...
- Mind your diet. ...
- Mental health matters. ...
- Stay physically active. ...
- Lower your stress. ...
- Quit smoking and decrease alcohol consumption. ...
- Get enough sleep.
A person between 40 and 49 is called a quadragenarian. A person between 50 and 59 is called a quinquagenarian. A person between 60 and 69 is called a sexagenarian. A person between 70 and 79 is called a septuagenarian.At what age does a man start slowing down? ›
New study says decline begins in our 50s
Researchers with Duke University's School of Medicine suggest that physical decline begins in the decade of the 50s and worsens as we age, especially for those who don't exercise.
Men tend to gain weight until age 55, and then slowly start to lose it in the years that follow. This could be because men produce less testosterone after this age. Women, on the other hand, usually stop gaining weight once they hit age 65.At what age does a woman's body look the best? ›
Researchers have found that women in their late 20s and early 30s are considered more attractive than fresh-faced 18 and 19-year-olds -- and they reach the peak of their beauty at the age of 31.What is the best career to start at 40? ›
- Medical administrative assistant.
- Patient care technician.
- Event planner.
- SEO specialist.
- Dental assistant.
- Human resources manager.
- Web developer.
In one large study from the Brookings Institute, for example, scientists found happiness was high for 18- to 21-year-olds and then dropped steadily until about age 40. But past middle age, the pattern began to reverse—gradually climbing back up to its highest point at age 98!Can you still look good at 40? ›
Every woman wants to look fresh, young and beautiful, regardless of her age. But, you need not worry about your growing age. If you want, you can look beautiful and attractive throughout your life.Is it too late to find love at 40? ›
Whether you're 35 or 75, it's never too late to fall madly (or gently and even sacredly) in love. Just ask actress Ellen Burstyn and a host of other women who found themselves in the heat of romance when they least expected it.
Jobs with the highest salaries in India are medical professionals, data scientists, machine learning experts, blockchain developers, full-stack software developers, investment bankers and product managers.What can a 40 year old do for work? ›
- Accountant. If you've got a flair for finance, why not consider a career in accountancy? ...
- Teacher. ...
- Translator. ...
- Start your own business. ...
- Freelancer. ...
- Virtual Assistant.
The best jobs for women over 50 include positions in tech, health care, finance, real estate, and administration. To find the right job for you, consider your experience, skills, interests, and aptitudes.What age is peak unhappiness? ›
An economist analyzed wellbeing across 132 countries and found that unhappiness peaks at midlife around 47.2 years old. Fortunately for those who find themselves at or approaching this period of life, better days lay ahead as happiness increases continuously as we get older.What is the hardest decade of life? ›
Looking first at self-reports of ongoing stress, we found that people experience a sharp increase in stress levels in their late twenties and early thirties. Stress levels increase more moderately during the thirties and forties, remain steady for about 20 years, and then drop sharply as retirement comes around.What stages of life are 40s? ›
Middle adulthood spans the years between ages 40-65. The late thirties (or age 40) through the mid-60s are referred to as middle adulthood. This is a period in which physiological aging that began earlier becomes more noticeable and a period at which many people are at their peak of productivity in love and work.What makes a woman look younger naturally? ›
Drinking enough water each day replenishes your skin's tissue and cells, allowing for younger and healthier looking skin. Another key to maintaining a youthful appearance is to simply get some rest! When you sleep, your body continuously releases hormones that promote cell turnover and renewal.At what age do looks decline? ›
The biggest changes typically occur when people are in their 40s and 50s, but they can begin as early as the mid-30s and continue into old age. Even when your muscles are in top working order, they contribute to facial aging with repetitive motions that etch lines in your skin.How many times do the average couples in their 40s make love? ›
A Kinsey Institute research paper based on psychological studies and surveys concluded that 18 to 29 year olds have sex an average of 112 times a year, 30 to 39 year olds an average of 86 times and 40 to 49 olds an average of 69 times a year.What do older guys find attractive? ›
"Faithfulness, supportiveness and reliability are therefore traits that older men feel more attracted to, as opposed to being attracted to unpredictability and adventure." This doesn't mean that men in their later years don't want to have fun, but their priorities are just different and more mature than when they are . ...
Men in their 40s want someone caring, loving, and kind.
Unlike their younger counterparts, who mention things like a nice smile or nice personality more often, men in their 40s bring up a caring, loving, and kind when describing who they want.