This is the age science says you're a proper adult

Marie Claire Dorking
A new survey has revealed you don't become a proper adult until 26 [Photo: Getty]
A new survey has revealed you don't become a proper adult until 26 [Photo: Getty]

Brits do not truly become adults until the age of 26, new research has suggested.

While many of us might have an idea about when we should expect to be a proper grown-up, a new survey has revealed that we don’t truly become adults until our mid-twenties.

The age-reveal will no doubt come as a relief for those under 26 who feel like they’re failing at adulting, because they still have time to grow-up before they’re considered to be an actual grown-up.

The survey suggests that British adults don’t become truly independent until the age of 26, citing the economy, spending longer in education, and difficult reaching traditional markers, such as buying a home, as reasons for the late arrival to adulthood.

More than 2,000 adults over the age of 25 were quizzed about when they felt they had nailed grown-up life, with the majority believing they don’t become bonafide adults until they’re 26.

Despite the legal system in England and Wales stating you’re an adult when you hit the age of 18, six out of ten of those surveyed don’t believe this is a real life marker for being a grown-up.

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Over a third (38%) of those polled said they still rely on their parents or guardians.

The survey was carried out by the National Youth Board for the National Citizen Service (NCS) – a programme to help 16-17 year-olds build confidence, independence and learn life skills.

Commenting on the findings Nuala McNally, who sits on the board, said: “There are a number of factors which may contribute to young people finding independence later now than ever before.

“It’s much harder for us to leave our parents’ and guardians’ homes for the first time, meaning less opportunity to put practical skills such as budgeting.

“In addition, a lot of us are choosing to stay in education longer, which is great as more people are academically investing in their future. ‘However, it means we have less ‘real world’ experience.”

Are we taking longer to become proper grown-ups? [Photo: Getty]
Are we taking longer to become proper grown-ups? [Photo: Getty]

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The research also came up with 50 signs of independence, as a sort of checklist of adulthood success.

Markers included being able to budget efficiently, being financially independent from your parents, and paying your own bills.

Booking your own doctor and dentist appointments, being comfortable talking to people and not having a curfew are also signs of reaching real adulthood.

Top 50 sings of independence

1. Being financially independent from your parents/guardians

2. Moving out of your parents'/guardians' home

3. Managing your own bills/outgoings

4. Buying your own property

5. Having a job

6. Being able to budget

7. Having control of your own bank account

8. Paying rent

9. Having savings

10. Paying your own mobile phone bill

11. Planning and going to do your weekly food shop

12. Doing your own clothes washing

13. Spending your money on household goods e.g. hoover, mattress

14. Booking your own doctors/dentist appointment

15. Being self-motivated

16. Owning your own car

17. Buying your own clothes

18. Going on holiday without your parents/guardians

19. Making your own dinner

20. Voting

21. Being confident at taking on any task without help

22. Sorting out your own car problems

23. Travelling alone to a foreign country

24. Passing your driving test

25. Having a baby

26. Having no problem saying 'no' to people

27. Buying your own towels and bedding

28. Being comfortable challenging other people's opinions

29. Being confident talking to new people

30. Navigating public transport alone

31. Having life insurance

32. Not having a curfew

33. Knowing how to do a meter reading

34. Confidently being able to cook a roast dinner

35. Having a credit card

36. Being able to change a light bulb by yourself

37. Being happy to go out for a meal alone

38. Having family and friends come to you for advice

39. Getting a pet without asking anyone's permission

40. Being able to buy alcohol

41. Dressing weather-appropriately without anyone telling you to

42. Volunteering by myself

43. Being able to mow the lawn on your own

44. Buying toilet paper

45. Having sex

46. Owning a host of cleaning products

47. Hosting dinner parties

48. Being able to bake a basic cake without looking at a recipe

49. Putting up a tent by yourself

50. Having your own social media accounts

The results go against an earlier survey which revealed you don’t become an adult until you reach your thirties.

Further research earlier this year also revealed the age we’re expected to have our life sorted.

A study, by Beagle Street Life Insurance managed to pinpoint the exact age we should have everything in place as 39.

But it seems many millennials are struggling with the basic skills that typify adulthood.

So much so that one council offering youngsters a crash course in adulting.

The City of Onkaparinga in Australia is hoping to educate teenagers about some of the grown-up basics they need to survive real life once they leave school.