The 40 Year Plan

Ok, the 40 year plan.

Otherwise known to some people, usually those in lower skilled and minimum wage jobs, as the 50 year plan!

I would guess that all over the developed western world, the mantra for generations growing up has been this:

The 40 Year Plan:

  • Work hard in school to get good grades.
  • Advance into high school and get excellent grades in your specialist subjects.
  • Get into college or university and get a good degree in your chosen subject.
  • Get a good job with your degree in your early/mid 20’s.
  • Work hard at your career and get some promotions.
  • Meet someone, buy a home, get married and have children:
  • Save money into your retirement fund.
  • See your children grow up and follow your path.
  • Help your children with marriage and home setting up costs.
  • Retire in your 60’s after 40 years of hard work and relax.

Or the 50 year plan:

  • Leave school in your mid teens.
  • Flit from one poorly paid job to another.
  • Spend extended periods out of work and rely on welfare or social security.
  • Rent a home.
  • Work, or not, for 50 years and retire on a state pension.

Maybe these plans worked out more or less like this in the 1950’s, 60’s or 70’s but what about now?

Welcome to the new reality!

If you’re on the 40 year plan at least you had a reasonable start to your working life but in reality what do you have?

  • Student debt, probably consumer debt and huge mortgage debt, car finance, private school fees, health insurance etc., etc.
  • Job insecurity, redundancy, rising divorce rates, falling savings rates, less “fun” money, state retirement age getting further away, poor annuity rates etc., etc.

But if you’re on the 50 year plan what do you have then?

  • For a lot of people it probably means 50 years of making ends meet, renting a home and hoping the landlord keeps it in decent order and doesn’t give you notice to quit, existing on benefits or welfare for a while or even years.
  • No money for family “fun” time, debt, no savings, no private pension and a pittance of a state pension that is further away now than when you started out.
  • Worry, stress anxiety and possibly depression?

How is the New Reality looking for you and, more to the point, what can you do about it?

Scary isn’t it?

Thanks for taking the time to read through this page, if I can be of help to you please feel free to drop me a comment below and I’ll reply as soon as I can.


Founder of Extra Income For Life

34 thoughts on “The 40 Year Plan”

  1. I certainly don’t want to work the forty year plan because it’s a huge waste of life!

    For the majority of people, they work 40 hours a week for 40 years of their lives and retire on 1/3 of what they were earning. That’s no kind plan for anyone!

    Unfortuntaely, we have been conditioned to go to school, get a good education and find a job. This is why many people are unhappy because they’re stuck in jobs, broke and unhappy.

    The 40 – 50 year plan is a broken system!

    It is scary, so I plan on checking out your links 🙂


  2. I certainly graduate with the 40 year plan mindset. But in between working hard and buying a home especially in this kind of economy inflation, is very tough, especially where I am staying right now.

    Even though I have a super-saving habit, maintaining the cost of a house in the city these days is crazy. What’s even crazier is that I am stuck with a job for 8 years now with no prospect of moving forward, unless I want to follow my boss’s footstep in becoming a workaholic – which I clearly don’t want.

    I heard that by doing your own business, you can have better control of your future. Is that true?

  3. Hello
    Thanks for your post on the 40 year plan. This was how many of us were brought up, to take this trajectory of life . It has worked for some people and didnt work for many others. The era we are now is very different with a lot of debts piled every where. credit cards, college debts and so on. Also the economy has not been good with high inflation, unemployment and near constant income… is difficult to save and invest for the future. I think every one now needs a stream of income to help make ends meet and cut down unnecessary expenses. I will like to know more about other options available to earn extra income outside blogging ?

  4. I can see what you mean by the 40 and 50 year plan.

    To be honest though, I did well at school, got my grades, found a career i love with a good salary. I have a good pension scheme in place and to be honest I have little to complain about.

    But I still need to work until i am 65, and i started when i was 17.. so sometimes things do not always come out the way they are written on paper.

    If there is a way for me to retire younger, then ill take it. Any ideas?



  5. Hi Mark!

    I have started in the 40 years plan and when I finished my uni, I broke the plan!

    I moved abroad because I was so unhappy to live in my home country Brazil. I lived in fear because of the high rates of homicide and assault. The economy was terrible and the salary, even for a qualified engineer, didn’t last because of the outrageous inflation rate – more than 7%.

    So, I realized my life abroad would be better in another country even jumping to the 50s plan! I started working on low paid jobs, and this is something I don’t want to keep doing for the rest of my life.

    I don’t have experience in my field of study and it is quite hard to compete with my poor English listening and speaking skills.

    I found in internet marketing a long term solution for this situation. I want to work for myself and get out of this job dependence! I hate to work for someone else. It’s profit above everything else! Ethics and compassion are gone when it comes to defending monetary interests. I just want to run away from this mad circle and live a simple life!

    A Flugal lifestyle coupled with an online business. That’s what I want for my life! How about you?

    All the best!

  6. I think the 50-year-plan that you write about is not even spanning 50 years anymore. Many of the people that flit around from low wage job to another low wage job end up working for the rest of their lives because they have no retirement savings. So, they literally work until they physically cannot work anymore or until the day they die, whichever comes first. And many people are living longer now.

    It is scary to think that if you do not plan properly when you are younger for retirement you may end up living off of governement assistance in your “golden years.” Thanks for being honest and bringing this to light in such a straight forward way.


  7. Hello
    Very interesting post about 40-year plan.In todays very expensive world, the 40 year plan does not work.
    Like most people when l was growing up it was, get a good education, good job, work,save and all that.

    It does not work that way in the real world, how are we supposed to save when incomes are never increasing and cost of living increasing so fast?

    To me the 40-year plan never worked and today I think a 40 or 50-year plan does not make much difference.
    Still, a very informative read,thanks so much.

    • Thank you Roamy and you are so right about the failure of the 40/50 year plan for a lot of people in today’s workplace.

      People talk about Boomers being well off because they had jobs for life, a great pension plan and houses that continued rising in value but a lot of Boomers don’t have those things now so how on earth are today’s younger workforce supposed to be able to get on in life when even a lot of Boomers couldn’t make it work?

      The alternative is to take control of your own life and that means being financially independent. Most people can’t afford the 10’s of thousands needed for a franchise or to open a brick and mortar store so what better way than to explore online marketing and there’s no better way to learn how to do that than Wealthy Affiliate!

      A FREE starter membership, 19 USD for the first month and then 47 USD for each month thereafter with no contract so you can stop at any time, no questions asked. There simply isn’t a better way to get on board the new way of making a living.

      Thanks Roamy


  8. Hi Mark,

    When I saw the title, I thought the ’40’ is referring to age. When I read the article, it was the number of years I had to work before I can retire! And that is provided I don’t quit schooling at mid teens.

    I have been working for about 25 years now, and I am saying to myself, ‘There has got to be some other way to have extract income.’

    I’ve been doing blogging for many years, and the amount of money I make, it isn’t something that I can live on.

    How are you doing it? I am interested because I don’t think nowadays even if you get a decent job, the money isn’t easy, and the cost of commodities is rising up now and then.

    Can you elaborate more?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Porfy

      I’ve only just begun blogging so have no real results to show yet other than putting the site together.

      You’re right about having a job too, for so many people it’s just not enough these days and being able to supplement it with another income stream is a great idea. Being able to earn a living online is a dream for so many and the way a lot go about it is through Wealthy Affiliate which is a great learning and supportive platform.

      Thanks for coming by Porfly, I appreciate your comments.


  9. Hi Mark,

    Great website you have made on the 40 year plan. Such great content you have here. I really like how you have designed your website. Its easy to navigate. Also, the formatting of your site is nice and easy to read on the eyes. I have bookmarked your site to refer back to for future cases. Best wishes to you in your future endeavors.


    • Hello Stephen,

      Thanks very much for visiting the site and for your your very kind comments.

      I tried to design the site so that it was easy to read and navigate, with links leading to both internal and external pages and hopefully it has come out ok.

      Happy for you to bookmark, I’ll be posting regular content so please call back whenever you like and you’ll be very welcome.

      Thanks again Stephen


  10. Subliminal message! lol I liked that part.
    I enjoyed reading through the article.
    I’m not from the states, but here in Chile its pretty much the same for everyone, regarding the 40-50 year plan.
    Unfortunately modern society is like a hamster wheel of death. Fortunately you provide an awesome solution!

    Looking forward to more articles!


    • Thanks for coming by my site Gaspar,

      Interesting to see the 40/50 year plan seems to be everywhere these days, that’s why I decided to talk about it and hopefully stop as many people as I can from sleepwalking into their own hamster wheel of death!

      Do you like football, here in the UK we have your top striker Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal…he’s a great goal scorer.

      Cheers Gaspar, come by any time.


  11. Well this post on the forty year plan has near enough ruined my day – what an awful thought!
    But when you examine each and every one of us you get to realize that this is a lot closer to the truth than we care to think.
    I for one am not going to subscribe to this template – you only live once ( apparently )

    • Hey Chris

      Sorry for ruining your day, hope you can recover by taking control of your life and exploring what doing business online can do for you.

      I think many people these days are sleepwalking into financial disaster, pensions are nowhere near what they were and nowadays they are further away than when people started out on their working lives.

      In the UK, the state pensionable age for women has gone up from 60 to 67 in recent years, even then the pension amount is miserable and I’m pretty sure it’ll be the same in many countries.

      Scary isn’t the word for it!

      Good luck Chris


  12. It’s true Mark, we are in a brave new world, which both exciting and uncertain. Who knows when we get retired what kind of reality will be waiting for us. But I guess one trend will continue and only get stronger that is the activities in virtual space. So getting an online business shall be the best insurance policy to go through thick and thin.

    • Hi Fisher

      Thanks for your thoughts here.

      Yes the online world will only expand as the years go by so that’s the place to be, where a great deal of the new riches will be generated and where we have the best chance to create our own brave new world!

      Good luck


  13. Hello Mark,

    The title does not do this article justice and you have given me any idea.
    I like what you call the 40 year plan as what our fathers and grandfathers did, it will not work in this day and age.
    The 40 year plan may have been good for them, but to me it is insanity, I could never work the same job that long, heck the longest I ever kept a job was 9 years and I hated it, even thought it paid well and had good benefits.

    No, we and the ones to come after us need to find a new way to do things. The old way is just that OLD, time to replace it.
    I am so glad I did not enlist in the 50 year plan, that would have been painful.
    Great article,


    • Hi there San,

      You’re right about our parents etc and their expectations matched against ours and even more so against our children’s and grandchildren’s.

      My Grandfather did 30 years Military service and my Grandmother never “worked” but they raised 4 children and were able to buy a nice house.

      My Father did 22 years in the British Military and then an extra 10 years as a reservist (none of it highly paid) and my Mother never “worked” but they were able to buy a reasonable family home in a nice place after he left the regular service.

      I was able to buy my first home at the age of 22 with a small deposit of about $2,000 but my daughter’s first purchase didn’t come until she was nearly 30, she had to come up with around $100,000 deposit and has a mortgage of around $250,000 for the next 30 years! Wow how things have changed!

      How her children are going to manage I have no idea so that’s why we all need to shout the alternatives loud and clear.

      Thanks for dropping by San and thanks for your comments.

      Best wishes


  14. Hi Mark, as an internet marketer myself…(now!) your headline intrigued me, as I’m afraid I was on the 40 or probably 50 year plan! I just didn’t see it the way you did and I’m kicking myself for it now.
    I did realise that if I wanted to improve my life I had to redirect my efforts and turned, like so many of us, to the internet and indeed Wealthy Affiliate, and I now see light at the end of the tunnel.
    Great article, thanks for posting it.

    • Hello Greg and thanks for coming by the site.

      Yes, the 40 or 50 year plan is one that our parents and grandparents used to create a reasonably comfortable life and retirement but with the economy crashing in ’08 that’s gone for most people.

      It’s all up to us now to make separate provision for a comfortable retirement and the internet, particularly Wealthy Affiliate, is the best way to go about it for the ordinary person.

      Thanks again Greg, come by any time.


  15. Hello Mark

    I’ve been looking for awhile at start up business’s and fell on your site. What a great read and I like the humour in there. Of course the 4o year plan is very relevant to many many people, me included.

    What you are offering is very intriguing and I’m curious about the start up cost ? Could you expand on that for me please?

    Kindest regards


    • Hi there Gary and firstly, thanks for dropping by and leaving me your kind comments!

      You can take a deeper look into my site to see more about what my recommendation is for people who are searching for an alternative to the 40/50 year plan but briefly, with Wealthy Affiliate, you can take an absolutely free look at the business and you can even try it for free to see if it is the sort of fit for you and your ambitions… card details, no bank details, no cost at all!

      Once inside, you get access to loads of training and support plus the ability to build and host 2 websites, again absolutely free. Incredibly, whilst still a free member, you could actually use these sites to start to generate an income and it won’t have cost you a penny to do so.

      If you like what you see, you then have option to upgrade to the Premium membership which, if you upgrade within 7 days of becoming a free member, you can do for a 59% discount on the regular monthly fee meaning your first month will cost you just $19 (USD)!

      Every 30 days thereafter, your card or paypal account is charged the normal fee of just $47 per month. Alternatively, people can pay annually if they wish for the super discounted figure of $359 (in advance) saving just over $17 a month.

      The Premium Membership covers the cost of everything within the site and believe me, there is a ton of step by step training and a fantastic community of thousands of people throughout the world who are available to answer any questions you have at any time of day. It’s a fantastic resource to have at your fingertips.

      So, $47 a month with no upsells, although there are a few products that are available for members to buy if they wish to do so….NO commitment whatsoever though and the monthly fee will allow you to build and host up to 50 (fifty) websites, so no outside site building or monthly hosting fees for up to fifty websites!

      A domain name for each site will cost around a one off $10/11 and that’s it, nothing else to pay to get your online business built and up and running.

      It really is a brilliant deal for a fantastic service and I thoroughly recommend it.

      If you need to know anything else Gary, feel free to contact me again at any time.



  16. Mark,

    Some people go through life thinking the 50 year plan is all that there is.Kind of scary. Actually the 40 year plan doesn’t look much getter to me lol. You and I both know that’s not the case. With the internet world opening up all sorts of new possibilities the 50 year plan can be there 3 year plan if you play your cards right.

    • Hi there Monkey Man, how are you hanging?

      Well I’ve been through my own 40 year plan and it didn’t work out so well so now I’m on my 3 year plan and that rocks!!

      Online is where it’s at and that’s where I am, hope that’s where you are too.

      Thanks for swinging by Monkey Man


  17. hey mark, i never thought of it that way.I don’t like either of the two plans and its not fair that just as i was getting ready to know more,your article is done. Am looking forward to reading what you have for us next.
    Give us a better plan that we can think about and maybe implement it.

    • Hi there Frida,

      Sorry you felt like you were left hanging but if you look a little deeper into the site you’ll see there is an alternative. One that I think you’ll like the look of if neither of the life plans I outlined above seem attractive to you.

      But then again, life is short and you only get one of them so why give 50 years of your life (your most active ones at that) to somebody else to make their dreams?

      If I had all of my time over again, I’d certainly take a different track but 20:20 hindsight is brilliant isn’t it?

      Trouble is it’s already gone and we have to deal with the here and now, so that’s what I’m doing and so can you.

      Thanks for dropping by Frida, go and check out the other pages and I know you won’t be disappointed.


  18. Hello David and thanks for your comments, they are very much appreciated.
    I agree with you about the pension industry and your point about the tax breaks, probably why so many are cashing in early and taking on buy to lets.
    Thanks again for taking the time to visit my site.
    Good luck

  19. Hey Mark,
    In this new climate, this 40 or 50 year plan is a thing of the past, especially the bit about a decent pension when one reaches pension age. Putting money into a pension fund expecting the pension fund to give you a decent return on it seems to me to be far fetched. The only reason in my opinion that pension funds are around is because of the tax breaks. If the tax breaks were not there, the pension industry would become a lot smaller in my personal opinion. It is more a gut feeling rather than an actual fact kind of thing. However gut feelings are usually bang on.

  20. Thanks for your thoughts on this Amirah.
    I really want to try to get visitors to realise what they may be in for if they are following or have followed either of those “plans” and that there is a real, viable alternative for the millions of ordinary people out there who may not have a clue how to improve their lot.
    Thanks again Amirah

  21. Hi Mark, this is a really thought provoking post. Those plans sounds scary! Looking forward to hearing the ways you’ll describe to earn extra income and help people take control of their own finances.


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