When does adulthood really begin?

When asked, for instance, at what point “people can no longer be seen as getting started” in their careers, only about one-fifth of both older and younger respondents picked working in a full-time job; nearly an additional one-quarter of each group said it was sufficient to “work in a skilled job with benefits.” But in each group, by far the largest segment (44 percent of the older and 50 percent of the younger) said someone had passed the point of just starting out in their work life only when they held “a job that is part of a long-term career.”
On education, more young people picked paying off student loans than completing high school or even college as the sign of advancing to the next stage of life.

Likewise, when asked at what point people are no longer getting started regarding their personal finances, only about one-fifth of both older and younger respondents identified the tipping point as obtaining “financial independence from … parents.” Another 25 percent of older and 27 percent of younger respondents said young people graduated from the starting-out stage when they “no longer live paycheck to paycheck.” But in each case, the largest group (35 percent of older, 36 percent of younger) said people only passed beyond starting out once they “have disposable income and a long-term savings plan.”