You’re Not Really an Adult Until You Pay for These Things Yourself

A recent study of 2,000 millennials examined the confidence they had in their personal financial knowledge – and how they viewed their path to financial independence. Of those who no longer live in their childhood home, it took the average respondent three years before they felt completely financially independent.

A large part of that financial confidence came from the first “adult” job. It took a little time and a few paychecks for respondents to feel secure in their first grown-up position ‒ the average respondent was at their first job for six months before they felt comfortable with their bank statement. Forty-seven percent named paying the rent or mortgage as an integral part of becoming financially independent. Other top markers of independence included paying for utilities (45 percent), food (43 percent), transportation (40 percent) and the internet (36 percent).

 Still, seven in 10 think you can remain on the family cell phone plan and be considered financially independent. Two in five said renting their first apartment was a major source of stress when starting out on their own. A third of respondents named applying for their first credit card and 32 percent thought paying taxes on their own for the first time was a nerve-wracking aspect of adulthood.

Top items to pay for to be financially independent


  • Rent/mortgage: 47 percent
  • Utilities: 45 percent
  • Food: 43 percent
  • Transportation: 40 percent
  • Internet: 36 percent
  • Health insurance: 34 percent
  • Cell phone bill: 34 percent
  • Medical expenses: 33 percent
  • Pay own credit card: 31 percent
  • Home/renter insurance: 30 percent
  • Car insurance: 29 percent
  • Car lease/purchase: 28 percent
  • Streaming services: 28 percent
  • Cable: 26 percent
  • Student loan bills: 25 percent