Eight out of ten children know their parents worry about money

20 June 2014

Parents are unaware of how well children are picking up on their money concerns, according to new figures from Halifax’s annual Pocket Money survey. The biggest survey of its kind in the UK, this is the third year that Halifax has run the survey, which takes an in-depth look at inter-generational attitudes to money among 1200 8-15 year old children and 500 parents.

Eight out of ten children [77%] know their parents worry about money, close to the real figure of nine out of ten parents [91%] who actually are concerned. One in five [18%] children believe their parents worry about money ‘all the time’, with another quarter of children [23%] say it is ‘quite often’.

Nor is insight into parent’s finances confined to older children and teenagers. Almost three quarters [74%] of 8-11 year olds are aware of their parent’s financial concerns. 

On the other hand, parents are quite attuned to their children’s financial concerns. Just under four in ten [38%] parents think their children worry about money, close to the actual figure of 37% of children who worry.

The majority of children would like to learn about finance from their parents at home [59%], followed by teachers at school [20%], then the Internet [8%] and television programmes [4%].

What, me worry? Children’s money concerns easing

In a positive sign, the number of children who are worrying about money has fallen from 58% last year to 37% in 2014. In part, this may reflect the overall mood of the UK economy, which has eased since the survey in 2013. 

Richard Fearon, Head of Halifax Savings, said:

“Now in its third year, our comprehensive survey has consistently shown that children are very sensitive to their parent’s money concerns, far more so than parents realise. One key way to help children is to show them understand how money works. Introducing them to good spending and savings habits at an early age can pay long term dividends by helping them see the benefits first hand, while good financial education is vital.”

Borrowing and lending

The survey also looks at how the different generations borrow and lend. Slightly more parents borrow and lend than their children, while in any generation the most popular source for borrowing is always the parents.

Key findings include:

·            Around a quarter [26%] of parents borrow money, and one in three [33%] lend money. At the same time, around one in five children borrow money [18%], while one in three [30%] lend money.  

·            Parents are the most likely to borrow from their own parents [65%], followed by their partner [27%], friends [17%] and other relatives [17%]. When children are looking to borrow money, their key sources are parents or guardian [72%], grandparents [21%], and family friends [12%].

·            Parents are most likely to lend to friends [39%], followed by their partner [33%], their child [26%], and other relatives [25%]. Children are most likely to lend to their friends [39%], with more than a quarter lending to their parents [28%], followed by family friends [23%]. One in 25 children [4%] actually lend to their grandparents.

·            Children in London are also the most generous, with 36% likely to lend money compared to the UK average of 29%.

·            Parents in Wales and the West are almost twice as likely to borrow [17%] from their kids as the national average [9%]. The next most likely parents are in the North West [13%], then the South East [11%], while those in the North are the least likely to borrow from their children [7%].

Richard Fearon, added:

“No matter how far people fly from the nest, whenever we’re in need it’s always parents people turn to first. It may be that people are simply following the lessons of a lifetime – for many, learning about money comes first from their parents, and they come back later in life to borrow for things like their first home.”

Effects of Age

Typically, as children get older they are less likely to borrow from their grandparents. One in three [33%] 11 year olds will borrow from their grandparents, compared to 15% of 15 year olds. However, as they age, parents become a more likely source of funds for children, with two-thirds [65%] of eight year olds borrowing from their parents rising to 84% of 15 year olds.

Geographical differences

Children in Greater London are the most likely to worry about money [45%], and their parents are the most likely in the UK to believe that their children worry about money [50%]. Parents in the East of England [64%] and in Scotland [64%] are the least likely to think that their children are worrying about money, while children in East Anglia are the least likely to actually be worried [48%]. 


Notes to Editors

TNS Omnibus surveyed 1164 children aged 8-15 between 22nd May and 4th June 2014 and 564 parents of children aged between 0-15 between 22nd and 29th May 2014.



Halifax Children's Money Worries