This Is The Age Brits Finally Feel Like An Adult – So Why Is It So Late?

People say having no savings, no children and no property is holding them back.

We legally become adults in the UK when we’re 18. We can buy a round at the pub, open a bank account in our own name, get a tattoo, and serve on a jury – but that doesn’t necessarily mean we feel like adults.

A decade later, aged 28, I still regularly feel like two toddlers masquerading in an overcoat despite having a full-time job, a home I can afford to rent, and two plants I haven’t killed.

And I’m not alone. New research has found most Brits (59%) don’t feel like ‘proper adults’ until they’re at least 29-years-old. And a quarter of the people surveyed by Nottingham Building Society believed they wouldn’t feel like an adult until the age of 60 – or over.

So why the discrepancy – between when we legally become a grown up – and when we feel like one? Have our elders always felt this way, or are millennials feeling this because traditionally “adult” milestones – like home ownership – are increasingly out of reach, or postponed until later in life?

“Reasons for not feeling adult include not owning property, not having children and not being married.”

The main reasons people gave for not feeling like an adult? They were still trying to avoid serious responsibility (50%); relying on parents for support (48%); and wanting to have fun (35%).

Other reasons included having no savings, having no children, and not being married. And one in five Brits believe they need to own a house or flat before reaching adult status.

This sheds some light on the adulthood conundrum – surely if wanting to have fun or turning to your parents for advice are markers that you’re just a big kid, we’re all screwed.

Or maybe we have a skewed perception of what it looks like to be an adult, now that TV shows and advertising have co-opted our self-deprecating “adulting” schtick to sell it back to us.

Owning a flat, getting married, having kids – these markers may have meant you reached “adult status” in the generations before us. But now? Now, things are very different.

The ‘imposter’ syndrome that’s always been part of coming of age is now cemented in economic reality – meaning most of us can’t climb the adulthood ladder until we’ve got far more candles on our birthday cake.

Perhaps it’s time to redefine what being an “adult” means – because if you’re holding down a job, seeing your friends and family, and managing to put food on your plate each night, you’re doing a pretty good job.