Study Finds How Each Generation Defines 'Adulting'

Men are considered to officially be adults at age 26 while women seem to hit adulthood three years earlier at age 23, according to new research. But when asked what's considered to be the 'favorite' age in life, the average millennial wishes they could be 23 for the rest of their life, whereas baby boomers said 32. The study of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 18 to 51+, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Farm Rich, examined the mindset and journey towards transforming into a fully-fledged adult, otherwise known as 'adulting', and found that 68 percent of men and 72 percent of women consider themselves to be an adult. When looking at the signs of 'adulting' among Americans, it turns out having a budget is the number one sign someone's reached adulthood, with 55 percent noting that keeping track of their finances this way signifies the adult life stage. Including having a budget, the survey found that the following were the top 10 signs of 'adulting': buying a house (54 percent), filing your own taxes (52 percent), understanding and monitoring your credit score (48 percent), investing in your 401(k) (46 percent), doing your own laundry (43 percent), scheduling regular doctors' appointments (38 percent), making a list to take when going to the grocery store (35 percent), cooking dinner most of Monday through Friday (33 percent) and watching the nightly news (31 percent). Following close behind, 29 percent of those surveyed revealed that hosting dinner parties or gatherings is a true sign of being an adult, while a further quarter (25 percent) said using coupons officially put them in the league of being a full-fledged adult. Seventeen percent of respondents said eating snacks for dinner whenever you want is an indication that you have officially reached adulthood. While there are clear signs of adulting overall, there are also some significant differences across generations. Gen Zers are three times more likely to get excited about having snacks for dinner than baby boomers (30 percent vs. 9 percent). "We were very interested to learn more about how young people view the transition to adulthood, and how times have changed with this whole idea of adulting," says Shannon Gilreath, Farm Rich Director of Marketing. "Part of the process of adulting is realizing you no longer have parents telling you what to do, where to be, or what to eat…so suddenly you realize you're in charge of your own life and for some, that can be a strange feeling." Millennials and baby boomers both believe that having vegetables, fruits, and coffee on hand are the top foods that you need if you want to call yourself an adult. That being said, younger generations think having frozen food on hand is something adults should have, compared to older generations. Thirty-three percent of millennials and Gen Zers revealed that frozen foods are a staple in the kitchens of adults, which is a sharp contrast to the 21 percent of baby boomers who feel frozen foods are a hallmark of an adult diet. In the case of millennials, more than a quarter believe a grown-up kitchen always has snacks. Nobody said that just because you're an adult means it's all kale salads and almonds. Over half of millennials and almost as many Generation Xers confessed their food preferences are more childlike. And millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers are all guilty of indulging frequently in comfort foods from their youth. All these generations love to chow down on pizza, spaghetti, hot dogs, mac and cheese and a grilled cheese sandwich from time to time — those aged 46-50 are 12 percent more likely to reach for a delicious pizza than any other younger generation while millennials are more likely to reach for the chicken nuggets compared to baby boomers (44 percent vs. 20 percent). For Americans, 'adulting' is more than just varying food preferences. It also comes with a certain bedtime as well. Results showed that the average adult bedtime is officially 9:16 p.m. Thirty-one percent of millennials get giddy about watching the news compared to just 23 percent of baby boomers. Turns out, younger generations are more romantic than older generations. Forty-five percent of millennials get excited for date night with their partner, compared to just 22 percent of baby boomers. Besides being more romantic, younger generations are also big on entertaining. Thirty-one percent of millennials look forward to channeling their inner Martha S. and hosting dinner parties compared to just 17 percent of baby boomers. When it comes to employment, millennials surveyed said that 22 is the age they felt comfortable having a steady job. Baby boomers, however, said that prime age was 17. 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. Baby boomers were more forgiving and said 31 is the cut-off. Stress isn't a new-age phenomenon, as both millennials and Gen Zers surveyed agree that stress is one of their least favorite parts of adulthood (46 percent #1 and 48 percent #2, respectively). For baby boomers, aging is the least favorite part of being an adult (68 percent). Perks of 'adulting' come in different forms. Millennials enjoy having a routine more than Gen Zers (41 percent vs. 28 percent). All agree that independence is a top perk of adulthood. The main way Americans handle their stress is all about getting some 'me time' — with 40 percent revealing this is their go-to way to relieve it. It turns out, different generations handle the stress of adulthood differently. Forty-three percent of millennials turn to video games to forget their adult responsibilities, while 33 percent of Baby Boomers eat whatever comforting snacks they want to relieve their stress.  Gen Zers find respite in sleep with naps being an escape for more than 50 percent, 15 to 20 percent more than any other generation. Adds Gilreath, "The findings in this study are both funny and true. When it comes to food, for example, it's interesting to see how it plays such a big part in attitudes toward adulting - things like doing your own grocery shopping, entertaining friends, cooking at home, the nostalgia around the comfort foods from our youth, or just eating snacks for dinner and to relieve stress from time to time."

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