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When Do We Feel Like an Adult? New Survey Shares ‘Signs’ of Adulting

By Allison Kade Oct 6, 2021

In this article

At Fabric, we believe tackling your “adulting” to-do list should be simple. 

But, when do we start to consider ourselves “adults”? According to a new survey conducted by OnePoll and Fabric, people think others should start feeling like an adult at age 25, although 30% didn't start feeling like an adult themselves until after that.

The survey worked to take the pulse on how adults nationwide are thinking about the future and aging. According to this original research, more than half of Americans (51%) feel like they're off track of where they should be in life, in general — with 39% feeling like they're being left in the dust by friends. 

The survey polled 2,000 Americans about all the parts of life that make them feel old and found that the top sign they knew they were an adult was when they finally had to think about saving money (35%).

Other top "adulting" signs were doing their taxes (32%), signing up for life insurance (29%) and sticking to a budget (29%).

Although half of Americans say they have open conversations about their finances with their families, 46% say that their family wouldn't know where to find their important financial documents if something happened to them. (Here's how to have "the life insurance conversation" with your spouse.)

More than two in three Americans have life insurance that their loved ones can fall back on if something were to happen to them. Almost half of Americans (48%) are thinking about life insurance more than ever after the pandemic, though a similar amount (50%) are still not confident in their understanding of how life insurance costs are determined. 

That said, getting a policy isn’t always a walk in the park: Results showed that people would rather clean the toilet (32%), comfort a crying baby (30%), or watch paint dry (25%) than look into life insurance. Nearly two in five (38%) have given up on trying to get life insurance, usually after receiving two quotes, because of the confusing jargon and policy options.

We know improving one's health is a big part of growing up as well, so it’s interesting to see that the study also found that on average, people think they will be the most concerned about their health around age 35.

The good news is that in today's digital world, it's simpler than you might think. Convenient and easy-to-understand digital solutions can make these often-cumbersome tasks a lot easier. At Fabric, we make it easy for you and your spouse to understand and apply for affordable term life insurance, as well as manage it conveniently from Fabric’s mobile app or online. 

Additional key results: 

  • Nearly three in five people (58%) were afraid of taking on "adulting" tasks before living on their own, and a similar number of people wished they were better prepared to take on the responsibilities (56%).

  • People start getting excited about small adult life joys like buying a vacuum or organizing their cabinets at around 22 years old.

  • Still, half of Americans (51%) rely on elders in their life to help answer questions they have about "adulting," including paying taxes, taking out a mortgage or applying for life insurance.

  • Some of the biggest concerns that people have about becoming an adult revolve around not having enough money in their personal savings (41%), retirement accounts (35%) and covering health and medical expenses (30%).

  • These financial worries are compounded for respondents with kids; 35% of parents worry about not having enough money saved for their children.

  • Becoming a parent has made 43% more careful drivers, 31% more concerned about nutrition labels and 30% more interested in applying for life insurance.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by OnePoll on behalf of Fabric among 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact

Fabric exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.

Fabric by Gerber Life exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.

Information provided is general and educational in nature and is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, financial, legal, or tax advice. Laws of a specific state or laws relevant to a particular situation may affect the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of this information. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. We make no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use, and disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information.

Fabric by Gerber Life offers a mobile experience for people on-the-go who want an easy and fast way to purchase life insurance.

Written by

Allison Kade

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Term Life Insurance Policy Series ICC22 2205-4004 WSA and Accelerated Death Benefit Rider policy series ICC22 2205-2623 WSA (and state variations where applicable) issued by Western-Southern Life Assurance Company, Cincinnati, OH which operates in DC and all states except NY, and distributed by Gerber Life Agency, LLC using Fabric Technologies. Gerber Life Agency, LLC is an affiliate of Gerber Life Insurance Company (est. 1967). All are members of Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern). Issuance of coverage for Term Life Insurance is subject to underwriting review and approval. Please see a copy of the policy for the full terms, conditions and exclusions. Product provisions, availability, definitions and benefits may vary by state. Payment of benefits under the life insurance policy is the obligation of, and is guaranteed by, the issuing company. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer. Products are backed by the full financial strength of the issuing company.

All sample pricing is based on a 30-year old F in Excellent health for the coverage amount shown and a 10-year term policy, unless otherwise stated. Gerber Life Agency, LLC (GLA) is an insurance agency licensed to sell life insurance products. GLA will receive compensation from Western-Southern Life Assurance Company for such sales. The NAIC Company Code for Western-Southern Life Assurance Company is 92622.

Western-Southern Life Assurance Company's A+ Superior A.M. Best Rating: Superior ability to meet ongoing insurance obligations (second highest of 13 ratings; rating held since June 2009). Ratings are subject to change from time to time. The ratings shown here are correct as of 09/03/2022. For more information about a particular rating or rating agency, please visit the website of the relevant agency.

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