Nearly a third (31%) of parents and carers do not talk to their children openly about money, according to research for a UK Government-backed body.
The findings were released by MoneyHelper to mark Talk Money Week (November 8 to 12).
The annual awareness campaign is co-ordinated by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), which runs MoneyHelper, to encourage people to have conversations about financial matters.
Talking about finances has been shown to help children form good lifetime money habits, among other benefits, it said.
Only 46% of parents said they do talk openly with their children about money. The remainder in the survey were neutral or unsure whether they openly discuss financial issues.
Parents who are very confident managing money themselves are twice as likely to have financial conversations with their children than those who are not confident, according to the survey, which included more than 3,000 adults with dependent children under the age of 17 in their household.
MoneyHelper – www.moneyhelper.org.uk – has a “couch to financial fitness” online programme, which includes steps to kick-start conversations.
The research also found that, across the UK, parents in London and the North West of England are most likely to speak to their children about money, while those in Northern Ireland and the East of England are least likely to talk openly about financial matters.
Money and Pensions Service chief executive Caroline Siarkiewicz said: “We’re encouraging parents to use Talk Money Week as an opportunity to start these conversations today.”
Sarah Porretta, children and money expert at the Money and Pensions Service, said: “As parents and carers, we want our children to be ready for anything when they grow up, and them having the skills and confidence to manage their money is a big part of that.”
Here are some tips from MoneyHelper for talking to children about money:
1. Lead by example. For example, when you are food shopping, take your children and make money-related decisions out loud.
2. If you pay by card, rather than cash, show your child your current account balance before you use it in a shop. Then show them your balance afterwards so they can see it is less than before.
3. Encourage children to save. You could start by asking them if there is something they would like to save for. Help them visualise this by drawing a picture of it or creating a progress chart.
4. Turn household jobs into “games”, giving children “tokens” they can exchange for rewards, such as their favourite treat or snack.
5. Older children may have savings accounts such as Child Trust Funds which are reaching maturity. This is a good opportunity to open up a conversation about money.