Mom Versus Dad: The Role Of Parents In Fiscal Fitness

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Parents share similar attitudes toward financial literacy, but their approach differs.

According to the TD Bank Financial Literacy Poll, 62% of all parents agree they should start teaching their children about money by 12 years of age. While mothers and fathers generally agree on when to start money-related conversations, the survey reveals they differ on how they teach their children financial literacy. The results also show there is a confidence gap between the two genders in how confident they feel about making sound financial decisions.

TD Bank surveyed 1,637 consumers within the Northeast as well as in Florida and Washington, DC to better understand their financial literacy and attitudes, specifically examining the role of the parent and how this can differ between mothers and fathers.

According to the survey, a majority of parents agree that honesty is the best policy when talking to children about household finances. Given the recession, it’s no surprise that 55% of families said they are talking to their children more often candidly about money, and 30% of families feel they are being more proactive and having conversations with their children before matters arise. TD Bank says it’s important to keep financial education lessons simple, straightforward, and make it fun.

Read More: 1 In 5 Couples Don’t Talk About Banking Until After Marriage

Dads Have More Financial Confidence, Moms Do More of the Work

According to the survey, 34% of respondents rated their financial knowledge as “good” or better. From that, dads are found to be nearly 10% more financially confident than moms. Despite these findings, 66% of dads also report they wish they had more conversations with their children about money. While moms perceive themselves to be less financially confident, 52% report feeling they take all or most of the responsibility to teach their children about financial matters.

Moms Talk to Kids About Managing (Dad’s) Money

Moms are more likely to engage in everyday conversations with their children about financial literacy issues:

  • 81% teach their kids how to count money
  • 70% impart money lessons while shopping
  • 70% encourage their children to save money in a piggy bank

Dads, on the other hand, are more likely to focus on the tangible aspects of money:

  • 52% provide an allowance
  • 32% encourage their kids to set a savings goal

Read More: The Accidental Invention: The Origin Of Piggy Banks

Dads Think They Don’t Need a Budget, Moms Want One But Are Overwhelmed

Despite evidence that better budgeting can help keep a family financially fit, 43% of families surveyed are still not creating or following a monthly budget. Even more interesting are the parental disparities in the reasons why they don’t budget. 35% of dads versus 22% of moms feel they do not need a budget, while 19% of moms versus 12% of dads feel they find budgets too complicated and don’t know how to create one.

“The survey shows that each parent contributes different money-related lessons when it comes to a child’s financial education,” said Suzanne Poole, EVP/TD Bank (now retired). “This indicates that it’s important for moms and dads to combine efforts to ensure that their children learn all aspects of financial literacy from monthly budgets to everyday spending.”

“Being that April is National Financial Literacy Month,” Poole added, “now is the perfect time to begin having these conversations with our kids.”

Survey Methodology: The study was conducted among consumers in the New England census division, Middle Atlantic census division, Florida and Washington DC in early 2011. TD polled 1,637 consumers from Maine to Florida: 718 in New England, 689 in Middle Atlantic and Washington, DC, and 230 in Florida. The sample size of 1,637 has a margin of error of +/- 2.4%.

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