Not having the money talk with their children might be a family tradition for the majority of affluent respondents.
“It’s on (the parents),” Rachel Cruze told Millionare Corner in an interview last year. She’s referring to “the money talk,” an uncomfortable topic for many parents. Cruze and her father Dave Ramsey, author of the get-out-of-debt bible, Total Money Makeover, collaborated on Smart Money, Smart Kids, which was created to help parents instill in their children an awareness of the basic concepts of money management.
“Even if they themselves have made (financial) mistakes and may not be in great financial shape themselves, they can still teach their kids about money,” Cruze said. “Their kids are their do-over, and if they empower them early on in life, it’s an amazing gift to give.”
And yet, a recent survey of Affluent households by Spectrem Group’s Millionaire Corner finds that a majority of parents (62 percent) have not told their children about their net worth. One-third of respondents said that such information was “none of their business.”
Which begs the question: Did their own parents have the money talk with them, and how old were they? Turns out, not having the money talk might be a family tradition for the majority of affluent respondents. Less than 20 percent were told about their family’s finances before they were 24. In fact, nearly four-in-ten (37 percent) said that their parents have NEVER told them. Twenty percent they only found out when their parents passed away. One fourth (26 percent) said they were clued in on family finances after they turned 24.
Ultra high net worth households with a net worth of at least $5 million were the least likely (22 percent) to say that their parents have never had talked with them about money, while respondents with a net worth of under $100,000 were the most likely (14 percent) to have been told by their parents about family finances between the ages of 13 and 18 years-old.
A new generation seems to have gotten the message on the importance of financial knowledge. In a separate Millionaire Corner survey, respondents under 40 were more likely than previous generations to say they had share information about the family’s net worth with their teenaged children. Tellingly, these younger respondents were also the most likely to have learned about family finances from their parents when they were teenagers.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.