WILMINGTON, Del., April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Earning, saving, spending and investing are essential money skills. Yet many parents don't think they have what it takes to be excellent financial role models, and their actions reflect their lack of confidence. A new survey from ING DIRECT USA, the nation's largest direct bank, revealed that nearly all parents (95 percent) say they're primarily accountable for their kids' financial education yet less than a third (29 percent) think they are "excellent" financial role models.
"Parents are the front lines of their children's financial education," said Arkadi Kuhlmann, President and CEO of ING DIRECT. "Simply adopting one financial tip each week and talking about it as a family could help parents become more financially aware and set good examples for their kids."
Parents Tap Kids Savings to Pay Bills
Economic uncertainty may continue to be impacting parents' ability to be good role models. Parents are tapping their kids' savings to pay bills and debt, the survey says.
Nearly one in three parents (31 percent) have withdrawn or considered withdrawing money from their kids' savings to pay bills or pay off debt.
More than half (58 percent) of parents are saving less for their child's future compared to two years ago. Nearly half (46 percent) of parents have sacrificed contributions to their child's savings.
The "Money Talk"
While parents see themselves as accountable for their kids' financial education, they struggle to talk to their children about money.
Parents are more prepared to talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol (32 percent) than about money and finances (26 percent).
Nearly three in ten (28 percent) parents are more prepared to talk to their children about sex and dating than money and finances (26 percent).
Planet Orange – Making the "Money Talk" Fun
Parents respect the value of financial education, according to the survey. Of those parents who were taught financial education in school about three in four (72 percent) still apply what they learned about setting and maintaining a household budget. But they continue to lack the confidence to see themselves as a financial role model and talk to their children about money.
An advocate for greater financial education for all age groups, ING DIRECT is committed to helping Americans understand the importance of saving at an early age and developing long-term, common sense savings practices.
With the goal of providing parents with tools to teach their children about money, ING DIRECT developed Planet Orange – a virtual web experience for children that makes learning about money entertaining and educational. While exploring planets and traveling through space, the Planet Orange program provides a way for children to discover the importance of choices and the value of money.
To help parents explain and educate their kids about basic money skills, Planet Orange now includes two free downloadable activity books. Activity Book I is for children just beginning to learn about money. This book incorporates activities for children in Pre-K through third grade such as addition, subtraction, word problems, creative writing and simple activities which reinforce the vocabulary and basics of money and finances. Activity Book II is for children in fourth through seventh grades. This book focuses on reading, writing, higher-level math and more advanced lessons about money. Financial lessons include budgeting, paychecks, pay stubs and the fundamentals of investing.
The national phone survey was conducted within the United States by TNS on behalf of ING DIRECT USA February 16 through February 27, 2011 among 2,000 adults age 18+, 627 of whom were parents of a child under 18 years old. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
About ING DIRECT USA
ING DIRECT, the nation's largest direct bank and largest thrift, is dedicated to inspiring Americans to become a nation of savers. Since its inception in 2000, more than 7.6 million Americans have entrusted their savings with ING DIRECT, building the bank to $91.3 billion in assets. ING DIRECT has developed a comprehensive social media Savers Community, including Twitter, Facebook and it's We, The Savers blog. For more information about ING DIRECT call 1-800-ING-DIRECT, and for information about its commitment to financial education visit Planet Orange.
Style note to Editors: ING DIRECT is always capitalized and never referred to as ING.