Having a mortgage, owning a "best" crockery set and being able to bleed a radiator are just some of the signs of being a "Grown-Up", it has been revealed.
The findings emerged in a study of 2000 people, which uncovers the 50 things which show you have become a fully-fledged adult. No longer relying on mum and dad for financial decisions, being able to cook an evening meal from scratch and owning a lawn mower were all highlighted as key signs of adulthood.
Other indicators of maturity included getting married, having a view on politics, taking trips to the local tip, and washing up immediately after eating. Interestingly, the research shows most people don’t feel like a proper grown up until they are at least 26 years old.
Tracy Fletcher, Head of Corporate Communications for Skipton Building Society, which conducted the research, said: "The top 50 list makes for an interesting read.
"Many of the indicators are things which people need to have mastered – such as looking after the house and garden, being able to cook and taking responsibility when it comes to personal finances.
"But other factors are the key milestones in life such as buying a house, getting married and having children – things which are happening at a later age due to economic circumstances, job security and so on.
"Owning a house topped the poll as two thirds of Brits felt this was the most significant factor when it comes to aging and accepting responsibility, and yet it is now harder than ever to step foot on the property ladder."
The results also showed that we only start feeling grown up when we start planting flowers in the garden, are able to change a light bulb, and own "best towels" as well as everyday ones. When it comes to making financial decisions – paying into a pension, having written a Will, budgeting every month and having life insurance all appeared in the top 10 as key signs of adulthood.
With age comes common sense and practicality. The research highlights that being a grown up means wearing a coat on a night out, donning comfortable shoes instead of crippling back breakers, and going to bed before 11pm where possible.
When it comes to managing the house, participants believe that doing their own washing-up and owning a vacuum cleaner are all indicative of their maturity. Taking trips to the local tip, finding a messy house annoying, actually ironing, and filing away the post for safe-keeping are other clues that someone is "grown-up".
Other factors to appear in the top 50 list include enjoying walking round garden centres, buying a Sunday paper, holding dinner parties, listening to talk radio and being sensible enough to remove make-up before bedtime. Nearly six in 10 participants believe you need to have your finances in order to be classed as a real grown-up, and the same percentage think it is impossible to feel like a true adult while still relying on hand-outs from mum and dad.
However, 44 percent think the current economic climate has made it impossible for youngsters to grow up as quickly as they’d like.
Fletcher continues: "The inability to complete rites of passage as basic as standing on their own feet financially, and owning their own home, is effectively infantilising people and leaving us with a generation of who remain teenagers into their late 20s.
"However, there are some encouraging signals in our research, including the increased emphasis on financial awareness and capability, as people recognise that things like completing a Will and saving are vital stepping stones to a more prosperous and independent future.
"Although many people currently feel challenged in achieving these goals, the fact that such aspirations are front of mind should mean that – as the recovery hopefully gathers momentum – today’s 'teenagers' now will eventually mature into more financially savvy adults than their predecessors, which can only make them better off in the long term."