YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Turning 18 years old is a step into adulthood, but a recent study from Bank of America reveals age is just a number when it comes to whether young people see themselves as adults.
The study surveyed 18 to 26 year olds who believe adulthood equates to financial independence. In fact, 49 percent did not feel like adults when they turned 18.
When asked to define adulthood, the group said “working or having a full-time job” as the top answer.
Forty-five percent define adulthood as having achieved a financial milestone such as buying a house or car, compared to having achieved traditional life milestones, such as graduating from high school/college (6 percent) or getting married/starting a family (2 percent).
For those who feel like adults, 55 percent say it’s because they currently make enough money to support themselves.
For those who do not feel like adults, 64 percent say it is because they still rely on their parents.
Many still rely on their parents for financial support: 43 percent still live at home, and 53 percent pay their own cell phone bills. Only 39 percent do their own taxes without help from their parents. The good news is that 51 percent are setting aside money in savings.
Christina Hardy, director of Career and Academic Services at Youngstown State University, tries to prepare students for independent life and planning for the future.
“The more informed they are and they know what those concrete steps are, I think will assure them and sort of eliminate a lot of that anxiety,” Hardy said.
The department works with the freshman class to give them support and find a career that will give them financial stability.
Hardy says most students don’t really choose their career based on salary. They try to find what they have a passion for and find a career that will give them that personal fulfillment.
YSU freshman Alysha London says she understands how being financially independent is one of the cornerstones of adulthood.
“Definitely moving out on your own and then having to make your own dinner and having to pay your own bills and buy your own groceries,” London said. “I pay all of my bills. I pay all of my school loans. I do pretty much everything by myself, so that makes me feel like an adult. Also the fact that I am one of the first people in my family to graduate college in four years.”
London added that making her own doctor appointments makes her feel like an adult.