Mid-life bucket list? Young Americans are prioritizing their finances and family before turning 40

NEW YORK — The journey to the other side of the hill can be a daunting one for young adults, particularly as they get nearer and nearer to the hilltop. New research shows that people in their 20s and 30s seem to be prioritizing their health, finances, and home life when it comes to turning 40.

That’s according to a recent poll of 2,000 adults, evenly split by generation, that asked respondents to list the top things one should experience by the time they get over the hill. Almost one in five Americans also believe people should watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York’s Times Square in person at least once in their lives before turning 40. Going on a solo date (16%), conquering a fear (20%), writing a letter to themselves (14%), and going to the doctor more to care for their health (26%) are some of the more trivial items on the to-do list.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of VSP Vision Care, the data found that 83 percent of respondents have been planning for their futures, and 73 percent are optimistic about what’s to come in their lives.

So, how have people been planning for the future? Most respondents said by exercising more or going to the doctor (54%), saving money (52%), and setting realistic goals (42%). With all of these goals in mind, it’s no surprise that four in five believe it’s important to have clear vision and healthy eyes to experience these moments in life (79%).

Eye health can affect so many aspects of our lives from work to school and all of those special moments in between, because so much of how we interact with the world is visual,” says Dr. Valerie Sheety-Pilon, vice president of clinical and medical affairs at VSP Vision, in a statement. “Receiving an annual eye exam is a simple yet powerful way to make sure you enjoy all of life’s great moments.”

Different generations have different goals for turning 40

The survey further delved into people’s futures, revealing what younger and older generations see for themselves.

Gen Zers (ages 18 to 25) see themselves receiving a promotion or raise and starting a family a decade from now (both 19%). Meanwhile, millennials (26 to 41) picture themselves owning a business (28%) and a home (23%), as well as growing their families (19%) and securing a better job (16%). On the other hand, Gen X (42 to 57) wants to focus more on becoming healthier (21%) and traveling with a person they love (19%).

The results suggest that boomers (58 to 76) plan to put their health first in their later years (45%) and also look forward to traveling with a loved one in 10 years (19%). While three in four are thankful they have good health (74%), more respondents think you’re never too young or old to get screened for health conditions (79%).

When asked if they knew eye exams could detect other health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, seven in 10 responded they were aware (72%), but 28 percent didn’t know that was the case. If they knew that information sooner, 27 percent would go to an optometrist more often.

“Optometrists have a unique vantage point into the health of your bodies through your eyes,” Dr. Sheety-Pilon continues. “In fact, eye exams not only help ensure clear vision, but they can also provide early detection of up to 270 health conditions, making now the perfect time to enroll in a vision benefit plan and prioritize both your eye and overall health.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans, evenly split by generation was commissioned by VSP Vision Care between Sept. 30 and Oct. 4, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).