How to Have the (Money) Talk with the Kids

New research highlights generational differences when it comes to
discussing finances

DES MOINES, Iowa–(BUSINESS WIRE)–It’s no secret that parents and kids often don’t speak the same
language, and new research from Principal®
proves that rings true when it comes to money and personal finance, as
well. ”A new look at investing and finances across generations,” is the
latest paper
in a series of research and analysis focused on decoding how different
generations invest, spend and talk money.

“Teaching our kids smart financial habits is important, especially when
they’re entering adulthood,” said Tim Hill, executive director,
Principal Global Investors. “Our research focused on decoding some of
those language barriers when it comes to talking about money in the
family – beginning with just starting a conversation.”

Millennials are ready
Just starting that conversation may be
easier than parents think. A survey of U.S. adults between the ages of
25 and 70 found that millennials (roughly 18 to 36 years old) are
already having more discussions about money within their families than
other generations. They are twice as likely as baby boomers or Gen Xers
to have discussed finances with a family member in the last week (16
percent vs. 8 percent). And millennials are more likely than any other
generation to have learned basic financial knowledge (budgeting,
investing/spending, paying taxes) from their parents.

So once the conversation starts, then what? That depends on the
generation. At any age, most people are comfortable discussing saving,
retirement planning and home purchases within the family. But the topics
that are avoided likely vary by generation. Millennials or Gen Xers
report dodging conversations about inheritance and long-term healthcare.
Boomers tend to steer the discussion away from personal spending and
saving for college.

“Understanding financial hot buttons within your family can help lead to
more productive conversations,” said Hill. “We often avoid the stuff we
feel unprepared for, so consider seeking help from an experienced
professional to guide your family in these discussions.”

Giving some historical context
The major moments and trends
that define a generation – war, scandal, cultural icons – often play a
role in why generations approach financial topics differently. To read
more about what defines the five generations in the workplace today – or
access resources about how to start a family discussion about money –

Research Methodology
This research study was led by
Principal Financial Group and The Center for Generational Kinetics. The
survey was administered to 1,000 U.S. adults ages 25–70 who influence
household financial decisions.

The sample was weighted to the current census data for gender and region
and participants were screened for U.S. citizenship. The survey was
conducted online from December 16, 2015, to December 22, 2015, and has a
confidence interval of +/-3.1 percent.

About Principal®
Principal helps people
and companies around the world build, protect and advance their
financial well-being through retirement, insurance and asset management
solutions that fit their lives. Our employees are passionate about
helping clients of all income and portfolio sizes achieve their goals –
offering innovative ideas, investment expertise and real-life solutions
to make financial progress possible. To find out more, visit us at

Principal, Principal and symbol design and Principal Financial Group are
trademarks and service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a
member of the Principal Financial Group.


Principal Financial Group
Jane Slusark, 515-362-0482
Suttie, 515-362-2431