Are Canadian parents good financial role models? 25% grade themselves a 'C'

May 24, 2012, 08:00 ET from ING DIRECT

ING DIRECT survey finds Canadian parents feel they should be doing more to teach their kids about money

TORONTO, May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Parents usually know best, but when it comes to setting a good financial example for their kids, a quarter of Canadian parents give themselves a 'C'. A new survey from ING DIRECT revealed that while 92% of Canadian parents believe they should be responsible for teaching their kids about money, 61% feel they could be doing more to educate their kids about the basics of saving and spending.

The online study, conducted in April 2012, surveyed parents across the country about educating their children on financial matters. An overwhelming 98% of parents polled feel it's important to have conversations with their kids about money-related topics, but 28% say it's not a priority at this time.

Teaching kids about money at a young age will assist in the development of lifelong, healthy financial habits. Canadian parents agree, with a third saying 7-9 is an appropriate age to start talking dollars and cents. Thirty-two percent feel 4-6 years is the right age to begin discussions about money.

Many parents take advantage of everyday situations - like shopping (53%), planning a vacation (35%), making a major purchase (34%) or paying bills (22%) - as opportunities to talk to their kids about money.

Interestingly, when asked about their comfort levels with talking to their kids about various topics, those parents surveyed said they find it easier to talk about bullying (91%) and smoking/drugs (86%) than they do discussing family finances (77%).

"Canadian parents know the importance of teaching their kids good money habits, and while they agree the onus falls on them, many still feel unprepared to address issues like setting monetary goals, spending smartly, investing and using credit cards," said Brenda Rideout, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, ING DIRECT.

"Having conversations with kids about money is important, and parents should feel confident enough to do so. Providing fun, interactive resources to guide parents and kids in this discussion is one way we hope to enrich the learning experience about money matters, and help nurture a new generation of financial role models."

What can parents do?

In addition to their own life experiences and websites with tools and tips, 72% of parents consider online educational games useful in helping teach kids about personal finance.

"Online sources to teach kids about money are great because they speak the language of today's younger generation," said Robin Taub, Chartered Accountant and author of "A Parent's Guide to Raising Money-Smart Kids." "ING DIRECT's Lil' Savers Moneyland is a fun way for kids to learn about creating a budget, setting savings goals, investing and giving to charity."

Taub added that kids who are taught about money management at home, and at an early age, feel more optimistic and confident about their financial futures, as well as feeling better prepared for major financial decisions they'll face in the future. is an interactive site that takes kids through fun activities and games that teach them all about money - how to "grow it, save it, spend it, and share it". Lil' Savers Moneyland is full of great lessons for kids, as well as a very easy-to-follow parent interface to help create an experience for the whole family.

To make money lessons even more tangible and real, there's a Moneybank that connects to by plugging into the family computer. Kids put their cash in the "piggybank", and the site helps them track their savings. The Moneybank can be purchased directly online for $34.99.

Watch an online demo of Lil' Savers Moneyland.

Additional survey highlights:

  • A third (34%) of Canadian parents feel ill prepared when it comes to teaching their kids about investing
  • 49% of parents surveyed feel only 'somewhat' prepared about talking to kids about monetary goals
  • 34% of parents rarely or never talk to kids about finances when making online purchases
  • In Quebec, 32% of parents think 10-12 years is the most appropriate age to start money conversations
  • 65% of parents in Ontario feel they should be doing more to educate their children about money
  • 22% of British Columbians give themselves an 'A' in personal knowledge about money
  • 72% of women surveyed said their children come to them first when they have questions about money; 57% of men said they are approached first

ING DIRECT is Canada's leading direct bank with over 1.8 million Clients and close to $40 billion in total assets. ING DIRECT is the bright way forward in everyday banking for Canadians, offering value added, simple products such as high interest savings accounts, including TFSAs, GICs and RSPs with no fees or service charges, low rates on mortgages and a no-fee, daily chequing account that actually pays interest. Low cost, index based mutual funds are sold through ING DIRECT Funds Limited. ING DIRECT has been operating in Canada since 1997, and paid more than $5 billion in interest to clients. ING DIRECT is open for banking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at, on mobile devices at or by calling 1-800 ING DIRECT (1-800-464-3743).

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About the Survey
From April 5 to April 10, 2012, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 1,001 Canadian parents who are also Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error — which measures sampling variability — is +/- 3.10%, 19 times out of 20. The sample was balanced by gender and region according to the most recent census data. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.


Video with caption: "Video: Online demo of Lil' Savers Moneyland". Video available at:

Image with caption: "ING DIRECT's new Lil' Savers Moneyland is a fun, interactive tool that helps teach kids about money (CNW Group/ING DIRECT)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "ING DIRECT's new Lil' Savers Moneyland is a fun, interactive tool that helps teach kids about money (CNW Group/ING DIRECT)". Image available at: