While parents agree on when to start teaching their children about financial matters, they have different ideas about how to do so. A survey released Tuesday by TD Bank, found most parents agree that they should begin teaching their children about financial literacy at age 12.
Despite being more confident about finances overall, fathers were less likely to take the lead in teaching their kids about money – two-thirds report wishing they had more conversations with their kids about financial matters.
Mothers were more likely to talk to their kids about everyday financial issues, like finding teaching moments while shopping, or teaching their children to count money or save in a piggy bank. Fathers were more likely to provide an allowance or to set a tangible savings goal.
The survey noted that the recession has led families to talk to their children more often about money, and nearly one-third say they are "more proactive" and talking to their kids before issues arise.
What's troubling is that some parents may not be teaching the right lessons. Almost half of families said they weren't following a budget. Over one-third of fathers and 22% of mothers said that was because they didn’t need one; 12% of fathers and 19% of mothers said they didn't know how.
"The positive is that parents are having conversations," Suzanne Poole, (left), executive vice president of retail banking for TD Bank told AdvisorOne on Wednesday. "Overall, parents feel confident; 34% rate their own financial literacy as good. What surfaces is not only the gender difference, which I find fascinating, but also the fact that people are looking for tools and help."
Parents are looking for tactics for bringing these lessons to their kids, Poole said. For example, how should allowances work, or if a child saves a certain amount, maybe the parents can offer to match it. It's all about demonstrating a tangible benefit to children. "We live in a world where money is less tangible than it was a few generations ago," Poole said.
Poole suggested banks need to take responsibility for teaching children about money. "Opening their first account is a powerful experience," she said. "We need to make it a positive one."
As for how to help parents, she urges them to remember the basics; showing their kids how to count money, and shopping together. "Parents need to show their kids it's not a magic plastic card. Daily interaction goes a long way."
The survey was conducted in January among respondents in areas where TD Bank has a presence, including the New England and Middle Atlantic census divisions, Florida and Washington, D.C.