Growing up is hard to do for Brits in their 20s


According to research, where 2,000 Brits aged 18 and over were asked exactly when they begin to feel like an adult, it looks like the UK is enjoying its youth a little longer than we used to.

Whether British millennials are resisting pressure to settle for a 9 to 5, staying with their parents to get their clothes washed, spending more evenings on the Xbox or being far from shy about their love of kids’ movies like Frozen, more and more are delaying their first steps into adult life.

Despite being legally classed as an adult at 18, people in the UK, on average, don’t feel like adulthood has really hit them until they’re in their late 20s. Sometimes, it’s as late as 29.

Why is this happening? The study, conducted by independent company, Fly Research, pinpointed the ten most common reasons for these delays:

  • 64% were happy relying on their parents to cover chores for now.
  • 36% cited the eased financial burden of living at home longer.
  • 31% still enjoyed playing computer games.
  • 30% said they still loved movies intended for children.
  • 29% said they still spent a lot of time watching cartoons.
  • 28% were fearful of growing up and taking responsibility.
  • 22% weren’t prepared to tie themselves down to a 9 to 5 job.
  • 20% still wanted to travel and see more of the world.
  • 20% idolised childish adults from popular TV shows.
  • 19% blamed not being taught more about adult responsibilities like banking in school.

Research also covered those moments which people saw as entryways to adulthood. Many of these are made more difficult for the current generation by the financial climate or the housing market, but some are surprisingly straightforward.

  • 64% said buying a first home was the moment they became adults.
  • 63% said having kids.
  • 52% feel getting married is the defining moment.
  • 29% said it was paying into a pension.
  • 22% said becoming house proud was the sign.
  • 21% said taking out Life Insurance.
  • 21% felt looking forward to a night in was a mark of adulthood.
  • 18% said it was regularly doing DIY.
  • 18% said hosting dinner parties.
  • 17% said having a joint bank account made them feel grown up.

Dr Frank Furedi, sociologist at the University of Kent, had these comments:

“There are a growing number of young men and women living at home in their late twenties or early thirties. Often people will cite economic reasons but really people are becoming more insulated from the real world at an early age and that can make them fear and delay becoming an adult.

As Beagle Street’s research shows, being an adult comes with responsibilities like a mortgage or a family, and over-dependent children aren’t ready for this at as young an age as the generations gone by.”

Beagle Street’s Managing Director, Matthew Gledhill, added:

“There is definitely less of an emphasis on getting a steady job, car and a mortgage in the current generation with more people wanting to see the world and just enjoy life.

There will come a time when those people are ready to settle down with a partner, get on the property ladder and start a family, and when they do it’s important they protect it all by taking out life insurance – meaning they can continue enjoying life knowing their future is safe.”

The study also outlined the top ten areas of the UK where people felt adulthood was upon them a little earlier than others. Capital cities feature heavily in the list, as well as some of the UK’s other largest population centres. These cities, and the ages at which people there feel ‘officially’ like adults are:

  • Belfast (27)
  • Oxford (28)
  • Birmingham (28 and 1 month)
  • Glasgow (28 and 7 months)
  • Sheffield (28 and 11 months)
  • London (29 and 2 months)
  • Cardiff (29 and 3 months)
  • Manchester (29 and 6 months)
  • Edinburgh (29 and 7 months)
  • Nottingham (29 and 10 months)

One thing’s for sure; it’s never too early to start thinking about protecting your loved ones with the right Life Insurance cover. Contact Beagle Street or get a Life Insurance quote online today to discover the cover that’s right for you.

Originally released: September 2015

About the research
Independent research company Fly Research questioned 2,000 adults aged 18 and above in August 2015 from across the country.