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‘Money talk’ scares parents

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Friday, July 22, 2011
Posted: 12 pm ET

Parents are more prepared to talk to their kids about drugs, alcohol, sex and dating than they are to bring up an apparently even more sensitive topic -- money.

That's one finding of a recent survey by ING Direct, a major online bank headquartered in Wilmington, Del. The telephone poll of 2,000 adults, 630 of whom had a child younger than 18 years old, found that 32 percent were prepared to talk about drugs and alcohol and 28 percent were set to chat about sex and dating, but only 26 percent were ready for the "money talk."

Nearly all the parents believed they were primarily accountable for their kids' financial education, yet only 29 percent described themselves as "excellent" financial role models.

Parents' own economic uncertainty and impaired financial situations might make them less able to be good financial role models for the children, the bank suggested in a statement about the survey.

More than half of the parents said they were saving less today for their child's future than they had been putting aside two years ago. Almost half had cut contributions to their child's savings and 31 percent had withdrawn or considered withdrawing money from their kids' savings to pay off their own bills or debts.

ING Direct USA CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann said in a statement that parents are "the front lines" of their children's financial education, and adopting one financial tip per week and discussing it as a family could help parents become more financially aware and set a good example for their children.

Parents can also use ING Direct's Planet Orange website, which includes two downloadable activity books, to teach money skills to their youngsters.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff

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