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What's life like for those hitting the Big Four Oh?

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There are more forty year olds in Australia than any other age group. And there's more of them than ever before. But what does the big milestone mean these days?
Strictly speaking, being 40 is not actually "middle aged" anymore - especially for women, whose life expectancy is now well into the 80s.
And while many 40 year olds find themselves hitting their stride, others are confronting some hard facts.
They're in the midst of a long mortgage and nearly a quarter of 40 year olds are suffering from mortage stress, where more than a third of their income goes to housing costs.
They're also staring down the barrel of declining fertility. A quarter of today's 40 year old women will have no children in their lifetime. However, due to medical advancements, today there are now far more women aged 40 giving birth.
And while most 40 year olds are married, around a third have never walked down the aisle. Forty is also the average age for men to separate from their partner. And for single women looking for a partner, it can be tough: there are more 40 year old women than men, so there's a 'man drought' in that age group.
This week an audience of 40 year olds from Australia join host Jenny Brockie to share their very personal and diverse stories of what this milestone means in 2011.

Meet the Guests

  • Christine Bagley-Jones

    Christine Bagley-Jones is a psychologist. She focuses on clients who are struggling with some of the unexpected aspects of midlife. She says that by age 40 it becomes obvious if you haven’t reached your goals – whether in your career, relationship or financial matters. Christine turned 40 in February and has four children.

  • Zelie Bullen

    Zelie Bullen is a Gold Coast-based stuntwoman who’s recovering from an injury that almost left her unable to walk. Along with her husband Craig, she runs Animals All Around - a company that arranges animals and stunts for television, film and live shows around the world. A mother of a four year old, Zelie turned 40 in October.

  • Aliyyah Cornish-Ward

    Aliyyah Cornish-Ward turned 40 last September. Earlier this year she married her 26 year old husband. Six years ago, Aliyyah was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and says surviving the disease made turning 40 not such a big deal.  Her ambitions include “never growing up and being silly as much as possible”.

  • Noel Walker

    Noel Walker’s 40th birthday last December prompted him to join a gym and to try to quit smoking. Noel says he felt great turning 40 because many indigenous people don’t live to see that milestone. He comes from a big family – he has seven siblings – but he is single and has no children.


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