A hyperreflexive blog focussing on critical sociology, infographics, Buddhism and extreme early retirement

What percentage of your life will you spend at work?

Posted by Realsociology on March 31, 2012


I was extremely disappointed with the results returned when I typed the question above into Google – so I thought I’d do the calculations myself.

Obviously what’s below is a very general standard, and there will be significant variations dependent on qualifications, actual life expectancy, inheritance leading to earlier retirement, whether you have time off work to look after kids, and of course the jobs you end up doing.

Taking the average UK Life Expectancy – which  = 80,

Then minus years spent at school, including degree  = 21

Then minus retirement years, from 67 = 13

We get a total number of years of working = 46.

Assuming a 40 hour week and 5 weeks holiday a year, we get 1880 hours worked per year

1880 hours a year multiplied by 46 = 86 480 total hours worked in a lifetime., which doesn’t actually sound that bad.

As a percentage  this equates to 18.5% of the total waking hours in your life overall (16 hours*365 days*80 years) = 467200 hours

And 32% of your total waking hours during your working life time of 46 years.

If you don’t like the sound of this then you could have a look at this – How The Median Income Earner can Retire at 52 – in which I outline how the average person could retire at 52 if they just consume less and save more (UK Focus)

For a US focus try this – A summary of ‘Early Retirement Extreme’ - in which the author managed to save enough to retire in just 5 years.

Related Posts 

15 Seriously disturbing facts about your job (in which they cite 90 000 hours, which is similar to the figure I got)

One Response to “What percentage of your life will you spend at work?”

  1.   Derek Says:

    Not sure you’ve taken sleep out. As you refer to waking hours, sleep calculation is vital. Assume 7 hours per night.That’s 204400 hours. Meaning there are 262800 waking hours of which 86480 hours are working, which is one third of our hours in our lives are spent working. We spend 57% of our waking time at work during a working life of 46 years.


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