According to birthday cards, growing old is inevitable but growing up is optional. In real life, even the most committed Peter Pans eventually find themselves owning a lawnmower, knowing how to bleed a radiator, keeping track of interest rates – and showing other signs of maturity.
Being on top of your finances is probably the clearest sign of all that you’ve reached adulthood. This test will show you whether you still have some way to go.
You know you’re an adult when…
…you know how to budget
Budgeting is for every day, not just the week before pay-day. Start by working out how much you have coming in each month and how much you need to spend on essentials, such as groceries, bills and transport, plus other expenses, such as credit card repayments. What you have left is yours to spend (or save). Simple.
…you’ve got a savings account
But you have to be able to resist emptying it every time money’s tight. Saving for something big, such as a house or wedding, will help you focus.
…you’ve got a mortgage
Owning your home is a sure sign of maturity – as is keeping it by making your repayments on time and in full, every time they’re due.
…you know what’s in your credit report
Your credit report is like a financial CV, so it needs to be accurate and up-to-date. Even a minor error could knock valuable points from your credit score. You can see your Experian credit report for free with a 30-day trial of CreditExpert.
…you’re paying into a pension
The chances are you won’t die before you get old, so the earlier you start preparing for retirement, the better.
… you can tell want from need
Thinking before you spend may not be cool but it will help you to afford the things that really matter, such as a new car or family holiday.
… You know what ISA means
An Individual Savings Account allows you to save cash or shares without paying tax on the interest – an essential accessory for any financially responsible grown-up.
… you’ve made a will
It may seem morbid but writing a will is a key milestone in your life.
… you’re managing your debts
Grown-ups don’t take on more debt than they can comfortably repay. They also know their credit limits and interest rates and never skip monthly repayments. But they are not afraid to speak to their lenders if they need help.
… you’re on the electoral register
Registering to vote at your current address not only gives you a political voice – it can also improve your credit rating. So do it.
… you’ve left the bank of mum and dad
Standing on your own two feet is a sure sign that you’ve made it financially. If you’ve yet to make the break, how about now?