Survey Finds Parents Flagging as Financial Role Models
By Deanna C. White
- Fifty percent of parents surveyed do not save regularly for retirement .
- Forty-two percent of parents do not maintain an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
- Fifty-four percent of parents do not have life insurance.
- Seventy-four percent of parents do not have an up-to-date will.
The survey also found family finances and long-term financial subjects are "still off the table" or, in some cases, even taboo topics for many families. According to the survey:
- A large majority of parents (73 percent) report they are having regular conversations with their kids about money, but the conversations revolve around short-term financial topics like back-to-school shopping (62 percent) rather than long-term planning such as family savings goals (39 percent).
- Fourteen percent of parents say they discourage kids from talking about money altogether.
The survey also found that while kids (70 percent) and parents (66 percent) agree that a college education is the key to a strong financial future, they don't practice what they preach when it comes to saving for college. Fifty-nine percent of parents have talked to their kids about how to pay for college , but only 41 percent of parents are regularly saving for that college education. In fact, more parents (46 percent) save regularly for vacation than for college.
- Kids are focused on the short-term financial future; 25 percent of kids save their money for long-term goals and 63 percent save their money for short-term goals.
- Twenty-five percent of kids say they spend their money right away on things for which they were not saving.
- Despite estimates that kids will need well over a million dollars for a secure retirement, only 21 percent believe the most likely way to obtain a million dollars is to invest in stocks and bonds.
- Twenty-four percent believe the most likely way to gain a million dollars is by becoming famous.
Bucking the slacker stereotype, 84 percent of kids think they will be financially independent from their parents between the ages eighteen and twenty-five, but some may have a big surprise in store for them.
- Thirty-four percent said they want to talk about how banks and credit cards work.
- Twenty-seven percent are interested in learning about inflation.
- Twenty percent are interested in learning about diversification.
The survey also found that 29 percent of kids say they aren't sure what the stock market is, but 20 percent are interested in learning about investing and how the stock market works. However, of those who "know what the stock market is," 14 percent believe it's a tool to "get rich fast."
- Lack of Savings Is Americans' Top Financial Concern 
- Money Is Low Priority in Parent-Child Talks 
- Will Rising Costs Make College Unattainable?