These are the 40 things you should do before you turn 40, according to Brits

Ready to feel like an underachiever?

Just take a look at this list of 40 things we’re supposed to have done before we hit 40 – and feel increasingly rubbish as you realise how few of them you’ve ticked off.

The to-do list comes from a poll of 2,000 adults by, which found that Brits have some interesting ideas about milestones we all should have reached by midlife.

Along with the tasks you might expect – falling in love, going skinny dipping, buying a house – the poll’s respondents reckon you need to have been on a cruise, gone whale watching, and got sacked from a job.

Don’t stress too much if you haven’t done all 40, though – it’s never too late to tick off your bucket list.

Plus, it’s worth considering that some of the items on the rankings aren’t for everyone… thrifty types, for example, won’t be too bothered about flying first class.

And really, does everyone need to write a book? We think not.

The 40 things you should have done by the time you turn 40, according to the poll:

  • Fallen in love
  • Started your pension
  • Learned basic DIY skills
  • Bought a house
  • Gone travelling
  • Had at least three months’ salary in savings
  • Been married
  • Had a child
  • Owned a pet
  • Written a will
  • Had a hangover that made you want to quit drinking forever
  • Donated blood
  • Had your heart broken
  • Volunteered somewhere
  • Be in a position to plan for retirement
  • Won at least £10 on the lottery
  • Earned a degree
  • Become debt-free
  • Seen a stage show in the west end
  • Had a one-night stand
  • Secured your dream job
  • Overpaid on the mortgage
  • Had a fight
  • Tried being a vegetarian/ vegan for a certain period
  • Visited at least three of the seven wonders of the world
  • Attended a black-tie ball
  • Created a family tree
  • Gone skinny dipping
  • Invested in the stock market
  • Been on a cruise
  • Lived in a city centre
  • Reached manager level at your job
  • Started a business
  • Moved to the countryside
  • Visited most of the continents
  • Flown first class
  • Been sacked from a job
  • Bought a holiday home
  • Been whale watching
  • Written a book

Nigel Birrell, CEO of, said: ’40 is the new 30.

‘Once we reach 40, there is so much left of life to achieve the goals and milestones we want to hit. So it’s nothing to worry about if there’s still plenty left on your to-do list.

‘It’s interesting to see what people believe “should” have been achieved by that age though, as what’s right for one person may not suit another.’

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