Credit Smart

Dads can be better financial role models


While many of us learn how to manage our finances from our parents, they’re not always the best role models, according to a new survey

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While many of us learn how to manage our finances from our parents, apparently they’re not always the best role models.

More than 30 percent of consumers rate their financial knowledge as below average or failing, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Just in time for Father’s Day, the NFCC’s 2010 Financial Literacy Survey looks at how consumers typically acquire financial know-how and habits.

A primary factor in determining a consumer’s financial future is the manner in which his or her parents deal with money. Parents do their best to pass on useful and pertinent knowledge to their children, but often, financial responsibility and practices go by the wayside, such as when parents argue over money or hide purchase from one another. Additionally, the survey examines how parents’ financial behavior can contribute to their children’s financial habits.

The NFCC suggests ways for dads to both improve their own financial literacy and create a solid and positive financial atmosphere for their children. Recommendations include reading self-help credit books, reprioritizing financial goals and weekly monitoring of personal finances. The group also stresses open, honest discussions about money: Spouses and family members should talk about major purchases, any changes to standards of living and the family’s financial future.

“The home is filled with teachable moments around money,” says NFCC spokeswoman Gail Cunningham. “Knowing that your children will likely follow the financial examples you’ve set is a strong encouragement to get your financial ducks in a row.”

Additional survey findings include:

  • 28 percent of adults admit they don’t pay their bills on time.
  • One-third of adults do not contribute toward retirement.
  • 51 percent of respondents say they are spending less now than a year ago.
  • 56 percent do not have a budget.

For more information on financial literacy and responsibility, visit the NFCC’s website or call (800) 388-2227.

See related:Kids learn best by practicing their money skills, study shows, Poll: Two out of five parents giving adult children bailouts, 4 finance experts — and parents — talk teens and money

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