Children are more aware of money worries than their parents think

The Momentum UK Team 05 July 2013

Almost 9 in 10 children as young as 8 are aware that their parents are worried about money, a survey by Halifax has found.

Halifax’s annual Pocket Money survey found that the number of children who are aware that their parents worry about money roughly matched the proportion of parents who admitted to being concerned about their finances. However, when the reverse question was asked, only a third of parents were aware that their children were also worried about money - despite 6 in 10 children saying that they were.

We already know that children learn a great deal about life from their parents, and it appears that financial matters are no exception; children said that they would most prefer to learn about finances from their parents, ahead of other places like school and the internet.

Richard Fearon, head of Halifax Savings, saw this as an opportunity for parents to educate their children about financial matters, benefiting them in later life:

"We know that children are very aware of the behaviour of people around them and by having discussions about money from an early age children will be much better placed to know how to manage their money as they grow up."

The survey also revealed some intriguing borrowing and lending habits between parents and children. Almost a third (28%) of children said that they lend their parents money, but only 8% of parents admit to borrowing from their children, with dads twice as likely to borrow from the piggy bank as mums (10% to 5%).

Fearon said:

"While there may be another explanation as to why parents and children recall this differently, there is clearly a real possibility that more parents are borrowing money from their children than are willing to admit."

As well as differences in perception between parents and children, various regional differences were highlighted by the report. Parents in the North East and Yorkshire were the least likely to think their children were worrying about money, with children in Wales the least troubled about their parents’ finances.

Fearon highlighted the importance of an honest dialogue about finances between parents and children:

“As parents, we try and protect our children from the things that worry us but sometimes it can be more beneficial to talk through financial concerns as a way to help children better understand money and put things into perspective.”