And ignoring the talk isn’t making your problems go away

If your child is made to believe everything is sunshine and rainbows, they’ll eventually grow up to learn that, sometimes, it rains. Hard.

Most families believe having money chats is very important, but only 11 percent of parents are talking to their adult children about finances. Financial services provider TIAA says both groups wish their families talked about it more. Unfortunately, neither want to start the conversation.

“There’s a huge benefit to parents and adult children who engage in conversations about finances,” says TIAA’s Retail Financial Services CEO Kathie Andrade. “In fact, talking openly about money is often easier than expected, and can even help bring families closer together. Ultimately, these discussions help everyone make more informed decisions and facilitate the support parents and children already provide for each other.”

The majority of parents and adult children — 81 percent — are open to talking about parents’ personal finances. The parents are on the less confident side: 64 percent of parents believe their adult children are open to talking about the young people’s finances. Meanwhile, 87 percent of adult children think their parents would be cool with talking about their money.

Who talks first — the chicken or the egg?

It’s easy to judge the stubbornness of a person by how long they avoid having hard conversations with their family. TIAA says 25 percent of parents are just fine waiting out having important financial conversations until “their age or health becomes an issue.” Even more, 20 percent are cool with not having the conversation at all.

Is it that much of a surprise that parents are just barely more interested in talking to their kids about finances than sex? To parents, it’s a question of “what’s worse?” rather than “what’s necessary?” What’s necessary, though, is for parents to teach their kids about money.

However, due to lacking knowledge themselves, parents often can’t do this. Sure, budgeting and saving is easy for some, but investing and saving are tough for many parents. This leaves kids — grown or not — with the belief that when it comes to money, everything is fine! Nothing to see here! In reality, parents are just hiding their ignorance.

But now those adult children are having children themselves. And those millennial parents are doing all right financially because their parents are helping them out. Even if those grandparents don’t completely have the means to help, they’re more comfortable sacrificing some luxuries to financially assist their children and grandchildren. Fifty-four percent of millennial parents get money help from their parents, and two-thirds get childcare help they would’ve otherwise had to pay for.

The good news is that millennial parents are becoming more adept with finances. Due to mounting debt, usually from student loans, millennials are getting married later and having families later (if they decide to have children at all). Most are making sure they are financially secure enough before growing their families.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Family

financial literacy, Gen X, millennials, save money

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Article last modified on January 2, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: You’re Not Talking To Your Grown Kid About Money - AMP.