Although 18 is the age most become able to drink, drive and vote, new research has suggest we don’t truly become adults until the age of 26.
While many 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Words by Francesca Specter.
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