Financial Planning

Millennials, Are Your Parents Defining Your Financial Plan?

It isn't uncommon to turn to family for advice about money. Even if you don't seek out their opinions, you may be surprised how much their views about money shape your own.

Be honest: When your parents give you advice, do you love it or hate it?

Whether you seek your parents' input actively, or find yourself continually pushing back against their ideas, research shows that when it comes to financial planning, you may be more influenced by your parents than you think.

Parents shape financial advice for young adults

A 2013 survey conducted by Market Probe for Wells Fargo showed that many millennials go to their parents for financial advice. “Despite the millennials' confidence and self-reliance on their future, they most often turn to family for advice about money. Parents were top-ranked (60%) when millennials listed where they were most likely to go for advice when investing their money,” Wells Fargo summarized.

The study indicated that even when millennials aren't asking for financial advice, they're still swayed by their parents' views. “As millennials transition into adulthood, more than half (57%) say their parents most influenced them and the way they view money. A majority (78%) say they learned 'a great deal' or 'somewhat' from their parents about personal finance.”

Phoenix Marketing International conducted a survey for Merrill Lynch in 2013 that corroborated these findings. Their survey found that 65% of respondents approach money the same way their parents do. “The young people who took our survey are following in their parents' footsteps when it comes to investing, with strong majorities saying that their investment approach aligns with the older generation,” they reported.

Imitation is not always a good thing

Parents might not be the best financial role models and might not engage in purposeful financial education - which could spell trouble for kids who follow in their financial footsteps.

Conversely, even if your parents are financially literate and had plenty of time to impart financial skills, it's important to recognize that every financial plan is unique. What was right for your parents may not be necessarily right for you. Your parents are in different life stages and they most likely had a different life experience. To be optimally effective, your financial plan and strategy should be based on YOU.

Who defines your financial future?

Hopefully, you are defining your own financial future. After all, would you rather chart your own course or fly on autopilot? If you're not purposefully implementing your own custom financial plan, you may inadvertently make the same choices your parents made by default. Whether that's good or bad - whether you want to follow in your parents' footsteps, or blaze your own trail - you should be aware that your parents' life path is only one option out of many.

Which path is right for you? That's yours to decide.

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

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Young Adult Financial Advice

When it comes to making a financial plan, many people continue to follow the choices and financial advice of their parents. This isn't necessarily a negative thing, but creating your own financial plan that's built on your own needs and goals can be much more rewarding in the long run. The start of a new year is a great time to start a new financial plan. Why not get started on yours today? For more information, visit our learning center.