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Financial independence ‘key measure of adulthood’

Research shows average 'grown-up' age is 29, as adult children rely on parents financially for longer

Financial dependence is delaying transition to adulthood, according to new research

Financial dependence is delaying transition to adulthood, according to new research

The transition to adulthood is now measured by financial independence and the purchase of a property, rather than turning 18, according to a new study which finds that the average person does not consider themselves “grown up” until they reach the age of 29.

A poll conducted by insurance provider RIAS found that 45% of British adults think that achieving financial independence is a key marker of adulthood, though the average person does not truly achieve this until the age of 38.

Moving on up

Moving out of the family was viewed as another part of the transition into adulthood, with 42% of people agreeing with this, and the average age at which people did so standing at 24.

However, there is a major difference between the age at which people move out and when they buy their first property. Although 38% of respondents said that buying a home was a key part of becoming an adult, people do not do this until they are 37 years old, on average.

Some non-financial factors also ranked in the top markers of adulthood, including having a baby (45% agreed, at an average age of 31), getting grey hair (10% agreed), and passing your driving test (13% agreed).

Money on the mind

Nevertheless, the key ranking factors are closely linked to financial decisions, with many respondents classing the moment you start paying into a pension, take out life insurance or get married as major factors in the transition to adulthood.

The research shows that the average age of all these factors combined is 29.1 years – something akin to a “lost decade” for 11 million 18 to 29-year-olds, who represent more than 16% of the UK population.

Growing pains

Peter Corfield, managing director at RIAS, said the “hangover” from the financial crisis means it is understandable that the nation is growing up later than previous generations.

He added: “While many may choose to take extended gap years to postpone ‘real life’, for others the decision is out of their hands. What is not being considered is the impact that this can have on other generations.”

Mr Corfield concluded that using life experience to inform financial decisions is vital, with keen budget control playing a key role in helping people to feel more financially secure.