Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Kids, Parents, and Delusions

I'm really starting to think that we're doomed.


As usual, I'm about three months or so behind the curve. I just discovered that USAA completed a survey back in August regarding teens, parents, and how they all relate with money. I won't say that the findings stun me. I'll just say that in a self-indulgent society such as ours, where blinged-out shows like MTV's Cribs and My Super Sweet 16 get and keep audiences, and where young kids actually consider Paris Hilton to be something other than a waste of breathable air, it's really no wonder that 61 percent of teens think they will become millionaires by age 40 or younger. Nearly half expect to retire by age 60.

No, really. That's what the survey found.

Fellow blogger FMF briefly touched on this same survey in September, in his post "The (Financially) Blind Leading the Blind." He mentioned that the USAA survey suggests that while 86 percent of teens say their parents are their most helpful source of info about money, a hefty 49 percent of parents rate their money-management skills somewhere in the range from "okay" to "terrible."

"I think that too many parents are giving themselves too much credit," FMF wrote. "Based on what I've seen, more than 49% are much worse than what is indicated here."

Holy cow, yes. I agree, and agree, and agree some more. When it comes to kids learning about money from their parents, I'm pretty certain that we're reaping what we've sown. Most parents suck at money. Thus, the outlook for their kids' cash-management skills is downright horrible.

Now, I've looked all over the 'net for text from the USAA survey proper, but the best I've been able to find is a synopsis at USAA's News Center:

USAA: "Teens Aren't Always Prepared for Managing Money"

A few more items that jump out at me:

13% of parents confess that they either spend money as fast as they can get it or are almost always broke.

To which I'd respond, "Whatever. A whole lot of parents just didn't confess."

And this tidbit:

23% of parents expect to rely “a decent amount” or “a little” on their child for money when they get older.

Take those two items together, and you know what it all says to me?


Yeah, we're doomed.

— Posted by Michael @ 12:50 PM


Most parents are barely figuring out their own finances, let alone trying to teach their children. It's true that children learn better by example than by lecturing.
Take heart though, SOME parents are teaching their children about money and some aunts are teaching their nephews! LOL.


Oh good! I was starting to think that I was the only one who thought we're all doomed. ;)

Forget managing money -- how are most teens going to make money? We're not exactly graduating rocket scientists these days. Across the ponds they are, though -- and they'll work for a lot less than we will now.

But, I suppose more teens will be millionaires by age 40 -- thanks to inflation!

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