Financial advisors play an important role in educating clients about finances, but a recent survey found that another group of people exerts a lot of influence in this area: parents.
A recent survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 44 percent of respondents felt they learned the most about personal finances from their parents. Only 10 percent said they got their financial skills from school.
Financial advisors should know where their clients' financial skills were formed and should be able to help them understand the link between their financial habits and those of their parents, according to the foundation.
"By financially educating their clients, advisors are playing a key role helping to move two generations toward financial stability," said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the foundation. "Therefore, it is critical for advisors to understand the link between the parent's grasp of personal finance and the impact it can have on how their children manage their money in adulthood."
Of those who did make a connection between their financial habits and their parents', 12 percent said they chose a path directly opposed to their parents' financial habits, while nine percent said they followed in the same path. Others indicated their financial skills were a blend of their parents' skills and their own (35%), and 44% had never thought about a comparison.
"Whether parents are astute money managers or woefully lacking in financial skills, their behavior influences what the children are learning, and likely impacting how they will handle their own finances as adults," Cunningham said. "Understanding this dynamic should serve as an incentive for adults to improve their own grasp of personal finance, because like it or not their actions in this area will speak loudly."