Let's talk about debts baby

Posted in: Research Last updated: 25 Apr 2008

British parents consider talking to children about money facts to be more important than educating them on STDs, racism or religion – according to new research by Engage Mutual Assurance.

With Britons’ debt mountain tripling in the last decade*, leading to growing uncertainty about the next generations’ financial outlook, 81 per cent of parents with children under 18 say that they are making a conscious effort to talk to their children about money matters in order to prepare them for adult life.

Debt is the most common financial topic of parental education (64%), followed by saving for the future (62%). The only ‘facts of life’ to be considered more important than debts in children’s at-home education were drugs and alcohol (78%), personal hygiene (74%), talking to strangers (73%) and ‘the birds and the bees’ (71%).

Engage Mutual Assurance asked a GB representative sample of almost 2,000 adults which topics they are making, or have made, a conscious effort to talk to their children about in order to prepare them for adult life. Surprisingly money matters featured heavily in the top ten ‘grownup chats’ parents are having with their children. Money is given significantly more concern than other issues such as terrorism (37%), religion (38%) or sexism (39%).

Top 10 Topics for Parental ‘Chats’

 Rank Topic of Conversation  Percentage of parents making a conscious effort to discuss this with their children
 1  Drugs and alcohol  78%
 2  Personal hygiene  74%
 3  Talking to strangers  73%
 4  'The Birds and the Bees'  71%
 5  Debt  64%
 6  Saving for the future  62%
 7  Racism  58%
 8  Ilness/death  53%
 9  STDs  52%
 10  The cost of bringing up a family  41%


mums discuss most embarrassing topics
Whilst fathers are the most conscious of educating their children about debt (65% compared to 63%), mums are the most likely to talk to their children about money in general (84% compared to 78%). Mums are also by far the most likely to be making an effort to discuss more embarrassing topics with their children such as STDs (57% compared to 46% fathers), homosexuality (45% compared to 36% fathers) and sex education (78% compared to 63% fathers). Fathers place topics such as politics (37% compared to 24% mums) and terrorism (38% compared to 35% mums) higher up on the agenda of conversations with their children.

older parents most concerned
Parents aged 45 to 54 are more likely than younger parents to be making a concerted effort to talk to their children about money matters (88%), perhaps because their children are fast approaching adulthood underprepared. 71 per cent are making an effort to talk to their kids about debt, compared to just 57 per cent of parents aged 25 to 34.

Karl Elliott, 3GB spokesperson for engage Mutual Assurance said:

“The fact that so many parents are prioritising talking to their children about money is a reflection of the increasing strain families are finding themselves under to make ends meet. It is encouraging that so many parents are choosing to talk to their children about money. The needs of the modern family are changing, and it’s important that children are prepared for the financial pressures of adulthood.

When talking to children about money we would urge parents to involve them in finances from a young age. In addition to pocket money, Child Trust Funds offer an excellent vehicle for educating children about the benefits of saving little and often throughout their childhood.”


*This is Money, 23rd August 2007, http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/credit-and-loans/article.html?in_article_id=423642&in_page_id=9

engage Mutual Assurance can be contacted on 0800 169 4321 or by visitingwww.engagemutual.com

The information contained in this press release is intended solely for journalists and should not be relied upon by private investors or any other persons to make financial decisions.

notes to Editors:
1. this research was undertaken by YouGov on behalf of engage Mutual Assurance. The survey was conducted between the 18th January and 21st January 2008 across a representative GB sample of 1,943, including 487 parents with children under 18.
2. if using this article on a website, please link to www.engagemutual.com using the following hyperlink text: engage Mutual Assurance – meeting the changing needs of todays modern families
3. engage Mutual Assurance is a trading style of Homeowners Friendly Society (HFSL) and it’s wholly-owned subsidiary engage Mutual Funds Limited (EMFL).
4. engage Mutual Funds Limited (EMFL) is a provider of the Child Trust Fund direct and in partnership with partners including Legal and General, ASDA and Debenhams stores.
5. engage supports mutuality, friendly societies and the regional financial services industry through links with the Association of Mutual Insurers, the Association of Friendly Societies, Mutuo and Leeds Financial Services Initiative.
6. established in 1980, Homeowners Friendly Society Limited (HFSL) is Registered and Incorporated under the Friendly Societies Act 1992, Reg.No.964F, it’s wholly owned subsidiary engage Mutual Funds Limited (eMFL) is Registered in England No 3224780. Both are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
7. Homeowners Friendly Society Limited’s FSA Register number is 110072 andengage Mutual Funds Limited’s FSA Register number is 181487. You can check this on the FSA’s Register by visiting the FSA’s website www.fsa.gov.uk/register or by contacting the FSA on 0845 606 1234