Grandparents: Here’s Why You Should Talk Money With the Grandkids

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Nearly 3 in 4 young adults said their grandparents influence their saving and spending habits.

Who needs to hire a financial adviser when you have grandparents you can talk to for free? When it comes to discussing money matters, grandparents have more influence than they realize.

According to a recent survey from financial firm TIAA-CREF, 85 percent of young adults said they’d like to discuss money and saving with their grandparents. And what’s more, 73 percent of young adults said their grandma and grandpa influence their saving and spending habits.

Interestingly, just 3 in 10 grandparents think they can impact the money habits of their grandchildren. A survey press release said:

“Young adults are surprisingly open to talking with their grandparents about money, regardless of the generation gap,” said Joseph Coughlin, Ph.D., director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab, who collaborated with TIAA-CREF on the study. “When it comes to saving for college, most young adults feel unprepared, and grandparents aren’t fully aware of how they can help. Conversations about money over time could help young adults more than their grandparents realize.”

Coughlin suggests grandparents start discussing money matters with their grandkids when they’re young.

Saving for college may be a good opening talk, and one that could be educational for both kids and their grandparents.

According to Money, grandparents are naïve about today’s college costs. While four years at a public university costs upward of $100,000, private college costs can run $160,000 or more. The TIAA-CREF survey revealed that 1 in 5 grandparents think college costs less than $50,000, while another 25 percent believe $50,000 to $75,000 should cover a college education.

About 23 percent of grandparents help pay for their grandchildren’s schooling. In the survey press release, Coughlin said grandparents like to see that their grandkids have “skin in the game” before they commit financially.

“Grandparents need to know their grandchildren are serious about achieving future success through advanced education by using their own money to help pay for at least part of it,” Coughlin said.

Discussions about money don’t have to be boring. Grandparents are often great storytellers, and can use that to their advantage. Money said:

In speaking to grandkids about money, the trick is framing the discussion as a personal experience. Kids love to hear stories about rituals, big decisions, frugality and home life, Coughlin said. Grandparents can find ideas and conversation starters for teens here and for younger kids here and here.

CBS said grandparents are good financial role models.

The financial wisdom grandparents often pass along can be boiled down to this: Always spend less than you earn, save plenty, invest wisely and give generously. These principles are timeless.

Grandparents, have you talked to your grandchildren about money matters? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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