We surveyed hundreds of people asking for their average age during major life events. From there, we were able to put together an average lifetime timeline!

Life TImeline - Did life turn out as we planned?

People always joke that their life hasn’t turned out like they planned it would when they were young. Generally, these unexpected twists and turns lead a person to develop the skills and life lessons they need to be successful. And when people do reach the milestones they’ve been anticipating, whether it’s much earlier or much later than expected, they find that they are just as life-changing as they’d imagined. This got us thinking. What is the average timeline of a person’s life based on these major milestones?

To find out, we surveyed hundreds of people. We asked questions about how old they were when they attended college, got married, purchased a home and a few other life events. Based on their answers, we compiled an average timeline for a person’s life. For reference, we also asked when people believed they would reach these major life milestones. The results were interesting and sometimes surprising. Check them out below!

Lifetime Timeline: The Results Are In

Overall lifetime timeline - Life Storage Blog


Five major life events generally happen to people by age 18. Most people have traveled out of the country, had their first kiss, attended college and had their first real relationship by age 18. The majority also said “I love you” to their significant other before turning 18. Overall, most major life events tend to happen between the ages of 19 and 25.

Most people say that they got their first full-time job, purchased their first car, moved in with and married their significant other, and had their first child, all by their mid-twenties. Meanwhile, the purchase of a first home tends to take place in their mid-to-late twenties. As for retirement, most people anticipate retiring by 65.

At What Age Do People Attend College?

Average age to attend college by generation chart - Life Storage Blog


College attendance has become more common and started younger according to responses to this survey. While one in four Baby Boomers and one in five Gen X’ers say that they have never been to college, 60% of Millennials not only attended college but were in college by age 18. That’s almost double the attendance rate at 18 of Baby Boomers and Generation X. By age 25, 86% of Millennials started college, while only 67% of Gen X’ers and 60% of Baby Boomers attended college by age 24.

At What Age Do People Get Married?

Marriage timeline chart


When respondents were young, 72% of them believed that they would be married by age 30. In reality, only 44% of respondents were married by age 30, a huge gap between what people expected and what actually transpired.

Apparently, happily ever after isn’t quite as straightforward as we thought when we were young.

At What Age Do People Get Their First Full-Time Job?

Average age first full-time job chart


Joining the workforce is a major step in anyone’s effort to become completely independent. Overall, most people tended to start their first full-time job at age 25.

However, if you examine the breakdown of responses by gender, most women started their first full-time job by age 18, while most men didn’t start their first full-time job until they were between the ages of 19 and 25.

At What Age Do People Purchase Their First Home?

Average age purchase first home chart - Life Storage Blog


Purchasing a home is a major commitment and expense that people tend to hold off on until they are in a financially stable situation. Accordingly, most people purchase their first home at age 26 or older. Women were 10% more likely to purchase a home by age 25 than men were.

At What Age Do People Retire?

Average age to retire chart


About one in four people believe that they will retire between the ages of 61 and 65, while one in five people believe they will retire between the ages of 66 and 70. However, 30% of people believe that they will retire by age 60.

Expectations vs. Reality

How did your own personal life events stack up with our life timeline? It’s always fascinating to see how our expectations differ from reality!

No matter when they occur, major life events often come with relocation, from parent’s homes to apartments to first homes. Whether you’re looking at your first home for your family or you’re taking the leap to live on your own, sometimes you need a little more room. No matter the size of your home or apartment, Life Storage offers affordable self storage near you. Visit a site near you to find out more.

About the Author

Molli Spear

Molli is an expert in all things related to moving, storage, and home organization. She graduated from Niagara University with a Bachelor's degree and spent several years of her career in the self storage industry. As a mother of three and a stay-at-home mom, Molli knows how difficult it can be to stay organized at home when things are feeling a little cramped. That's why she contributes to the Life Storage Blog.

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