We do not feel truly independent until the age of 26, a survey suggests.

Adults believe it is harder than ever for the young to start fending for themselves.

The state of the economy, a longer time spent in education and a lack of effort were all blamed by those surveyed for the struggle to cut the apron strings.

By contrast, children in the 1980s were cooking family meals and helping out around the house even before they became teenagers.


The survey also revealed the top 50 signs of independence, including being able to budget efficiently, being financially independent from mum and dad, and paying your own bills.

Despite the legal age of adulthood now being 18 in the UK (and NZ), six in 10 adults do not believe this reflects the real age of independence.

Thirty-eight per cent of the 2000 over-25s surveyed by OnePoll, a marketing research company, admit they still rely on parents or guardians emotionally or otherwise.

Jermain Jackman, of the National Citizen Service Trust Board, which commissioned the research, said: "The age of independence is real and every young person experiences it. However, different people go through it at different times".

Here are 50 ways you can tell

1. Being financially independent
2. Moving out of your parents' home
3. Managing your bills
4. Buying a home
5. Having a job
6. Being able to budget
7. Having control of your bank account
8. Paying rent
9. Having savings
10. Paying your own mobile phone bill
11. Planning and going to do your weekly food shop
12. Washing your clothes
13. Buying household goods e.g. a vacuum cleaner or a mattress
14. Booking a doctor's and dentist's appointment
15. Being self-motivated
16. Owning a car
17. Buying your own clothes
18. Going on holiday without your parents
19. Making your own dinner
20. Voting
21. Being confident at taking on any task without help
22. Sorting out car problems
23. Travelling abroad alone
24. Passing your driving test
25. Having a baby
26. Buying your own towels
27. Having no problem saying 'No' to people
28. Being comfortable challenging other's opinions
29. Being confident talking to new people
30. Navigating public transport alone
31. Having life insurance
32. Not having a curfew
33. Reading a gas or electricity meter
34. Confidently being able to cook a roast dinner
35. Having a credit card
36. Changing a light bulb
37. Happily going out for a meal alone
38. Having your family and friends come to you for advice
39. Getting a pet without asking permission
40. Buying alcohol
41. Dressing weather-appropriately
42. Volunteering
43. Mowing the lawn
44. Buying toilet paper
45. Having sex
46. Owning cleaning products
47. Hosting dinner parties
48. Baking a cake without looking at a recipe
49. Putting up a tent
50. Having your own social media accounts