Two thirds of Aussies are developing financial habits from their parents



Two thirds of Aussies are developing financial habits from their parents

New data reveals younger generations are learning more financial habits from their parents compared to ever before according to new Suncorp research released today.

The national survey of more than 1,500 Australians found that there is an upward trend with more than three quarters (77 per cent) of Australians aged 18-34 recall learning about financial matters from their parents, while only just over half (55 per cent) of those aged 55+ recall receiving financial advice from their parents.

Who gave you financial habits or advice? 

Total for all age groups18-34 years35-54 years55+ years
65% say parents77% say parents66% say parents55% say parents

Suncorp Behavioural Economist Phil Slade said money conversations between family members has become more common in recent years with people’s financial data more available and transparent than ever before.  

“The ability to digitally track your spending, automatically generate reports and use multiple accounts to put money into ‘buckets’ has had a tangible impact on the way families talk about finance,” said Mr Slade.

“Millennials have also had a front row seat watching their parents navigate through price pressures from the housing market and multiple investment bubbles, which helps them learn financial principles and experience real outcomes from financial decisions.”

The research shows females are more likely to talk to their children about money than males (69 per cent vs 59 per cent) which suggests mothers tend to do the household budgets and are more active in financial discussions with children. Parents are also more likely to talk to their children about money when they are 15 years old and above.

The most common financial topics parents talk to their children about is saving and investing (78 per cent), followed by budgeting (68 per cent) and want vs need (62 per cent).

Our research shows that more females talk to their children about paying bills (64 per cent vs 53 per cent), budgeting (70 per cent vs 65 per cent) and getting a job (62 per cent vs 51 per cent) compared to males.

Males on the other hand are slightly more likely to speak to their children about debt (44 per cent vs 40 per cent), superannuation (38 per cent vs 32 per cent), and mortgages (34 per cent vs 29 per cent).

What have you spoken to your children about in relation to money?

Saving/ investing78%77%78%
Want vs need62%58%65%
Paying bills59%53%64%
Getting a job57%51%62%
Credit cards39%38%40%
Personal loans21%23%19%

The research shows that 64 per cent of parents talk to their children about money which is on par with talking about topics such as education and career choices, and higher than table manners (59 per cent), alcohol/drugs (49 per cent), puberty (34 per cent) and choice of partner (21 per cent).

Which of the following have you had a conversation with your children about? 

Education and career choices64%61%66%
Table manners59%52%66%
Alcohol / drugs49%44%55%
Your choice of clothing / hairstyles31%23%39%
Your choice of partner21%15%27%
None of the above11%13%9%

Suncorp Market Manager Amanda James said while it is great to see money conversations are important to many of us, there is still a large portion of parents not engaging with their kids about financial topics.

“We are seeing a lot of differences across the board; on one hand, money is the most common discussion topic for some parents however on the other hand, many parents are still not having important money conversations with their children,” said Ms James.

“It is concerning because we know families who openly discuss money are often in a better financial position.”

Suncorp’s research shows that 50 per cent of Australians say they taught themselves the most about how to manage their finances and this is even higher among those aged over 55.

“Thanks to the internet, younger people (18-34 years old) have access to more information than any previous generation. This is indicated by 34 per cent teaching themselves financial education and trying to understand how to avoid the financial shock that previous generations went through.”

Brisbane-based Mitchell Doyle said he learnt some financial habits from his parents but that he also tried to teach himself financial habits as well.

“My parents sometimes taught me what to do and what not to do with money so I have tried to be selective in which habits I put into practice and use throughout life,” said Mr Doyle.

“Money and personal finance lessons are not something we are taught in schools, TAFEs or universities – yet it is so important because we have to use it day in and day out.

“I remember my Dad in particular telling me that he never spoke to his parents about money because children weren’t meant to know about those things back then.”

To ensure you are teaching your children positive financial habits, Amanda James’ top tips are:

1.   Set a good example

2.   Teach children about the difference between wants vs needs

3.   Keep the lines of communication open

4.   Teach generosity.

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