Life’s key milestones and when NI people think we should reach them

  • Ulster Bank reveals new research on lifes key milestones.

    16-24-year-olds feel under more pressure to hit life’s milestones more quickly than previous generations

    People in Northern Ireland think they should own their own home by the age of 28, have their mortgage paid off by 54 and be retired by 63, new research from Ulster Bank reveals today.

    The bank’s survey of more than 1,000 adults across Northern Ireland, carried out by independent research agency Cognisense, explored people’s expectations of when some key milestones in life should be reached, as well as drawing on their experiences and regrets.

    The average ages respondents think they should hit key milestones in life are:

    • Going on first holiday without parents: 18 years
    • Passing driving test: 18 years
    • Starting a full-time job: 20 years
    • Buying first car: 21 years
    • Moving out of parental home: 22 years
    • Moving in with a partner: 25 years
    • Getting engaged: 25 years
    • Getting married: 28 years
    • Owning first home: 28 years
    • Having first child: 27 years
    • Moving up in the housing market to second home: 37 years
    • Paying off mortgage: 54 years
    • Retiring: 63 years


    The comprehensive study found that owning their own home was the milestone people in Northern Ireland were most keen to hit more quickly or wish they had reached earlier in life. Getting engaged was the milestone they were least likely to want to hit more quickly or wish they had reached earlier. This was followed by moving in with a partner.

    The study also found a disconnect between people’s expectations and the reality, with the actual average age for buying a first home (30 years), having a mortgage paid off (around 60 years) and retiring being higher than people think they should be. Indeed, the state pension age is expected to have risen to almost 70 by the end of the next decade.

    Interestingly, the average age people from Belfast think you should get engaged, own your own home and have your first child is higher than in all of the other parts of Northern Ireland surveyed.

    The majority of those questioned agreed that there is more pressure on today’s generation to reach key milestones in life more quickly than in the past. Overall, 65 per cent of respondents agreed that this is the case, but this rose to over 80 per cent when looking at the responses of just 16-24 year-olds.

    Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, says: “Ulster Bank plays an important role in helping our customers achieve their life goals, whether that’s owning your own home, getting married or entering into a civil partnership, or putting your feet up and retiring. So it is important that we have a good understanding of their ambitions and expectations. We also want to work to help people achieve their goals as conveniently and efficiently as possible. Our new paperless mortgage enables us to make a mortgage offer within 24 hours and the average offer time is 10 days faster.”

    The findings are released to coincide with the launch of Ulster Bank’s new paperless mortgage process, which significantly speeds up the time it takes for a mortgage approval – reducing the time by an average of 10 days.

    The survey was undertaken by Cognisense in September 2018, with 1,000 adults questioned face-to-face across Northern Ireland, providing a representative sample of the Northern Ireland population.

    You can learn more about the latest student news in Northern Ireland and across the island of Ireland by visiting Sync NI's dedicated 'Students' hub.

    About the author

    An article that is attributed to Sync NI Team has either involved multiple authors, written by a contributor or the main body of content is from a press release.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

    Sign up now for a FREE weekly newsletter showcasing the latest news, jobs and events in NI’s tech sector.

Share this story