​Five ways to find out if you're a financial adult


Piggy Bank

With some having to spend years paying off student loans and overdrafts, and some having to resort to milking the Bank Of Mum and Dad for free rent and more, it can be a while before many of us reach financial maturity.

Understanding your finances is perhaps one of the clearest signs that you've reached adulthood - so here are some signs that you might be able to say with confidence: "I'm a financial adult now."

You've learned the value of budgeting – Getting your head around how much you have coming in each month, against how much you need to spend on essentials (such as groceries, bills and transport) could help you realise what you have left over for yourself. But never forget to pay your credit bills on time – as missed or late payments stay on your credit report for at least six years, and could affect your chances of getting credit in the future.

You've got a mortgage - The responsibility of being a homeowner, without having the safety net of a landlord or parent to fix things, can make you grow up quickly. Keeping up regular payments on time and in full, without the opportunity to bail out at a month's notice, is a sure sign of maturity.

You're on the electoral register – Are you able to vote? Not all of us are! In the UK credit reference agencies like Experian include electoral roll information on credit reports to help banks and lenders check your name and address when you apply for credit. So being able to vote wouldn't only give you a political voice – it could also potentially help boost your credit rating.

You check your credit report - Your credit report is an overview of your borrowing behaviour - a personal history of the credit you've had and the repayments you've made, so it needs to be accurate and up-to-date. This is because when you apply for new credit, lenders are looking for proof that you're a reliable and responsible borrower - they want to know that you will make repayments on time and that you aren't already over-stretched. With a 30-day trial of Experian CreditExpert you can see your credit report and Experian Credit Score whenever you want, and also get help finding finance deals that suit your credit profile.

You understand the difference between want and need – Possibly the hardest one of all. Being able to rein yourself in when you really, really want to splash out on something you don't need and can't really afford is something we all have to get used to eventually. Equally, the realisation that you sometimes have to spend money on something we need, but don't really want, like household repairs. And it's always nice when you've got enough left over for something you need AND want, like a new car or a family holiday.