You are an adult when you achieve financial independence say 45% of Britons

26th September 2013


The average age of a grown up is now 29 years old or at least that is what specialist over 50s insurer RIAS is arguing. RIAS surveyed the public about their attitude to adulthood and the milestones at which it arrived. It also reveals that more than one in ten adults (11%) don’t believe they have reached adulthood until they start looking after their own parents and even more, 13% think they have to be grandparents first.

Some 45% of those surveyed says financial independent marks adulthood.

The company has surveyed Britons to get their view of when you become an adult and cross referenced the age at which this happens including what it describes 10 milestones including 5 financial ones.

It also argues that a combination of falling wages, low interest rates and rising house prices means that Britons now don’t grow up until far later while suggesting the age used to be 19.

It contends that 11 million 18 to 29 year olds are trapped in ‘lost decade’ amounting to 16% of the UK population


Average age a Briton will achieve this milestone
1 Achieving financial independence (45% agreed) 38
2 Becoming a parent (45% agreed) 31
3 Moving out of the family home (42% agreed) 24
4 Purchasing a property (38% agreed) 37
5 Getting married (32% agreed) 30
6 Start paying into a pension (25% agreed) 28
7 Taking out life insurance (16% agreed) 45
8 Able to buy a drink in the pub (15% agreed) 18
9 Turning 18 (14% agreed) 18
10 Passing your driving test (13% agreed)


This delaying of adulthood has an impact on every generation. RIAS’ research shows that today’s over 50s are living more youthful lives than ever, with 97% agreeing that they think that it is important to keep a youthful outlook, and 73% actively wanting to try new things.  The research reveals that one in ten adults don’t believe true adulthood as when you become responsible for your parents (11%), or have a grandchild of your own (13%). However, with the average first time buyer now aged 37, Britain’s over 50s can find themselves in the situation of supporting their children, and sometimes parents, at the same time.

Peter Corfield, Managing Director at RIAS comments: “The hangover from the financial crisis means that it’s understandable that the nation is growing up later than previous generations. 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. The rise in the cost of living has meant many people that cannot get their foot on the property ladder are forced to live at the family home for longer, continuing to require financial help from their parents despite earning their own income. As an over 50s specialist, we see the impact that this has on the parents of the lost generation.”

“With the average first time buyer aged 37 today, retirement planning is taking a back seat for many. The UK’s over 50s want to live fun, travel-filled and youthful lives, but today’s research show that their finances will have to work much, much harder for them. Many over 50s are paying off their mortgage while supporting both their children and their parents financially. Using life experience to inform their financial decisions is vital, and keen budget control will only ever help people feel more financially secure.”

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