A new survey of 2,000 Americans asked people to pinpoint the moment they felt fully like a grown-up adult—and their answers revealed some amusing key differences between generations and genders.

Realizing you’re in charge of your own life occurs early on with the sudden realization that, like Jerry Seinfeld, you can eat cereal whenever you want! However, realizing you are an adult most often occurs when a person deals with finances on their own.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Farm Rich, examined the mindset and process of transforming into a fully-fledged adult, otherwise known as “adulting.”

All of the top five signs of adulting are related to money. Having a budget is the number one answer indicating when someone’s reached adulthood (55%)—followed closely by filing your own taxes (52%).

A quarter of those surveyed started to save money like an adult, too, by using coupons for the first time.

In sixth place is doing your own laundry. (Beware: every adult learns in the beginning how to turn all their ‘whites’ red, and how horrifying it is to pull your favorite sweater out of the dryer, when suddenly it can only fit a 3-year-old.)

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More than a third of respondents said adulting involves scheduling regular doctor’s and dental appointments, and making a list to take to the grocery store.


No one surveyed thinks that just because you’re an adult you should be eating all kale salads and almonds. Over half of Millennials and Gen-Xers pointed out that eating snacks for dinner is an indication that you have officially reached adulthood. And, 33 percent of older Baby Boomers eat comfort foods whenever they want, as a way to handle stress.

Both Millennials and Baby Boomers believe that having vegetables and coffee in the house are important if you want to call yourself an adult. And 22% said you should be taking something out of the freezer to defrost ahead of time!

No matter what generation, the poll found that everyone indulges in comfort foods from their youth—the top 5 being pizza, spaghetti, hot dogs, mac and cheese, and a grilled cheese sandwich—with Millennials more likely to reach for the chicken nuggets—compared to just 20% of older folks.

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(See the Top 20 list of What Makes You an Adult below…)


Millennials seem to put more pressure on themselves to reach adulthood. According to the survey, after age 26 Millennials believe it becomes embarrassing if you are not a full-fledged adult. Surprisingly, Baby boomers were more forgiving and named age 31 as the cut-off.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a difference between men and women in their 20s: the average man considered himself to be an adult at age 26, while women identified as adults three years earlier, at age 23, according to the survey.

Though independence is the top perk of adulthood, it does create some stress. Both Millennials and Gen Zers named stress as their least favorite part of adulthood.

43 percent of Millennials turn to video games to forget their adult responsibilities—and who can blame them?

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1. Having a budget 55%
2. Buying a house 54%
3. Filing your own taxes 52%
4. Understanding and monitoring your credit score 48%
5. Investing in a 401(k) 46%
6. Doing your own laundry 43%
7. Scheduling regular doctor’s appointments 38%
8. Making a list to take when going to the grocery store 35%
9. Cooking dinner most of Monday through Friday 33%
10. Watching the nightly news 31%
11. Changing the bed sheets regularly 31%
12. Reading the newspaper 29%
13. Hosting dinner parties or gatherings with friends 29%
14. Buying a sensible pair of shoes 27%
15. Making the bed every morning 26%
16. Drinking wine 26%
17. Using coupons 25%
18. Getting excited over staying in on a Saturday night 25%
19. Starting the morning with coffee 23%
20. Taking something out of the freezer to defrost 22%

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  1. 1. I agree because having a budget is good to see how much you spend per a time. If you didn’t have a budget you could over spend and not have the money to pay for something that you need.
    2. I Agree that you should take the time to find a house in your budget, also a house that you like and will fit your future plans.
    3. I agree that filling your own taxes is good so you can see how much you’ve spent over the past year, as well as you can compare taxes form previous years to see if your increasing or decreasing in a tax refund.
    4. I agree it is good to monitor to credit score so if you needed to get a loan or you wanted to but a new car, you need a good credit score. if you don’t have good credit than it will be harder to get loans and it will be more expensive.
    5. I agree that investing in a good 401k is a good idea because you can double or triple your fund’s by you adding more to it and finding a good investor to add for when you retire.
    6. I agree that doing your own laundry is a good way to save money in the long run because after your washer, drawer gets paid off the only have a couple smaller bills to pay for.
    7. I agree that scheduling doctors appointments is a good idea because it saves you time so you don’t have to sit and wait by just showing up, and it is a good way to keep your health up by going to the doctor for checkups every so often.
    8. I agree that making a list is a good way for you to remember what all you need from the store like food, cleaning supplies, or house hold items. You down always need a list, unless you are going grocery shopping it is a good idea to have a list.
    9. I agree that making dinner is a good way to save yourself money by not eating out all the time, but it is good to eat out every so often. making dinner for your self is a healthy way to eat also if you eat the right foods.
    10. I agree that watching the new sometimes is a good way to see what’s happening around you area, you down have to watch it every night, but a few times a week is good to see I there’s anything new happening locally.

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