Many people worry about what life might be like after 40. It’s the age when some individuals end up having a midlife crisis.
Is the best really behind us once we reach our fourth decade of life or are there more good things to come?
According to science, the fear that it’s all over once your thirties are over is completely unfounded.
We’ve gathered nine studies that show exactly why our forties are actually a time to look forward to and embrace.
1. People in their 40s have higher levels of confidence.
For women specifically, it takes decades to really develop a feeling of confidence. Self-confidence is something that many younger people have issues with.
Research from Harvard shows that men tend to be more confident than women when younger, but by forty, the levels start converging.
Women under 25 tend to be less confident in their leadership abilities while men under 25 tend to be overconfident.
Women tend to rate themselves as more effective leaders later in their careers.
2. Work-life balance is improving.
A report from YouGov illustrates that people think that they have the worst work-life balance between the ages of 25 and 34.
A solid 21% of the young people surveyed in that group were dissatisfied with their work-life balance.
However, in the 35 to 44 cohort, that number was only 14%.
By the time you reach your forties, you are finally starting to get settled in your career and may have more freedom in schedules and tasks.
3. Many mental skills are increasing.
There is a common misconception that as you get older, cognitive skills decline.
However, for many categories, it’s the opposite. When it comes to the skill of “social understanding”, people between the ages of 45 and 55 are actually peaking.
4. Less sleep is required.
Young kids sleep forever, while older adults don’t need nearly as much. The CDC recommends that newborns get 14 to 17 hours of sleep per night.
Adults require as little as 7 hours per night.
In the daytime, people in their forties just feel more awake in general.
“Healthy older adults without sleep disorders can expect to be less sleepy during the daytime than young adults,” a sleep research study conducted in 2010 finds.
5. Social media is less important.
Think of how much time you’ll save by only being on one or two main social media apps versus the number that younger individuals currently use.
Those in their forties and above tend to only use a few main apps such as Facebook and YouTube while those in their twenties have a longer list.
In addition, Pew Research Center found that the older you are, the less likely you are to use social media at all.
6. Concentration comes more easily.
Focusing on tasks is easier than ever once you turn 40.
This study analyzed ability and strategy as two different components related to holding sustained attention.
What they found is that sustained attention ability peaks in the early forties, at 43 years of age.
7. Net worth increases to new heights.
This document from the Federal Reserve shows how net worth is distributed in the average family.
Families that had the head of the household listed as 35 to 44 years old had an average net worth in 2019 of $91,300 versus $13,900 for families where the reference person was under 35.
8. You’re earning more money than ever.
It’s no surprise that, overall, your finances tend to improve as you age.
Your forties are a time when you are starting to earn more in your career. It is likely that you are no longer an entry-level applicant for new jobs as well.
A study from Payscale shows that women reach their peak earnings in the forties and men by the time they are 50.
9. The likelihood of having a successful relationship goes up.
If you marry later in life, it’s better for happiness.
This survey on marital timing and subjective well-being in midlife shows that if you wait until you are more mature to get hitched, your mood and self-esteem will thank you.
People assume that it’s better to marry at the same time as their peers, when younger.
However, it’s clear that in many cases, it’s the opposite. The survey researcher Matt Johnson explains:
“We didn’t find that marrying late was negative in terms of future subjective well-being. In fact, marrying late was better compared to marrying early.”
These studies illustrate many things you can look forward to once you reach the big 4-0.
It might feel like a chapter in your life is coming to an end, and that’s totally okay! The next one is only just beginning.
From finances to relationships, people in their forties pretty much have it made.
Check out a video below that discusses what it’s like for women turning forty.
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