NEW YORK (MainStreet) Parents want to set a good example for their kids when it comes to money, but almost half aren't above bribing their kids, almost 30% admit to lying to them, and 30% say they "borrow" from their kids' piggy banks, according to a recent survey.
The T. Rowe Price survey, which looked at responses from 1,000 parents and 924 kids ages 8 to 14 years, also found that about three quarters of parents surveyed were apprehensive about talking to their kids about money and nearly 30% said they're not the ones who should teach their kids about money, because they the parents admittedly aren't good with money. But nearly three-quarters of those adults whose parents taught them about money felt more knowledgeable about personal finances than those whose parents didn't teach them compared with nearly 60% of those whose parents weren't good at teaching them about handling money.
It's not surprising that almost 90% of the parents surveyed were open to schools teaching about finances.
When it comes to their own finances, about half the parents said that they prioritize saving for their kids college over their own retirement. (About 30% of parents also say they lose sleep at night worrying about saving for their children's college education.) But many financial planners often advise parents to save for retirement before saving for their kids' college, saying that there are loans for college but that there aren't loans for retirement. There's also the argument of compounded interest.
But it may pay to consider this: 65% of kids whose parents were saving for college said they'd definitely attend compared with 38% whose parents were not saving. However, just talking about going to college may have a better outcome: 74% who simply had frequent discussions with their parents about going to college were confident they'd go compared with 46% of kids who didn't have college-related discussions with their parents.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling's financial literacy survey findings echoed these sentiments: most of the respondents "indicated that they learned the most about personal finance from their parents or at home," says Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for NFCC.
"Parents need to realize that children pick up bad financial habits as easily as the good ones," she added. Parents have "the opportunity to positively impact two generations, theirs and their children's, by improving their own financial skills."
"Although parents may not be experts on money, it is critical that they understand the basics of finances to not only benefit themselves but set a good example for their children, as well," says Stacy Francis, president of Francis Financial. "This is why it is imperative for parents to realize that saving for college and retirement is a must and one should not take precedence over another."
--Written for MainStreet by S.Z. Berg, author of The Other Side of the Window, a medical mystery about the failure of the medical community