Parents would rather talk with their kids about sex than money

Somehow this doesn't surprise me. But ING Direct, a virtual bank headquartered in Wilmington, Del., just released a study indicating that two out of five would prefer the topic of the dangers of alcohol and drugs, than have a discussion with their kids about the family's financial situation.

And about three out of 10 parents would rather talk to their children about the birds and the bees.

Sure, that's kind of amusing, which is why I thought I'd mention this, although it's kind of sad, too. Does this hint at how we got into this mess, or is that parents don't want to talk about money because of the recession? Either way, this isn't a good thing.

But what's really troubling (at least according to this survey, which collected the insight of 2,123 adults) is that 18% of Americans are raiding their children's savings accounts to pay bills.

Naturally, ING Direct is using the survey as a way to educate consumers.

"It's clear parents are struggling with their expenses during these difficult times, but tapping money put aside for their kids will only exacerbate a family's problems when it comes time to pay for college," said Arkadi Kuhlman, in a press release for ING Direct. "Parents need to set an example by setting up an automatic savings plan. A 'set it and forget it' savings mentality makes it easy for parents to save, while teaching their children about the importance of putting some money aside for future needs."

Good advice, and yet a little tone deaf, methinks. Sometimes I really have to shake my head at generic advice dispensed in press releases. If someone is responsible enough to put money into a savings account for their kids, they probably aren't tapping it out to by a Wii.

Don't you think that they're probably draining their accounts because they think it's better to raid the child's savings account than not feed their children?

But after reading about this survey, I'm thinking the advice that's apparently urgently needed is for the parents who can't quite figure out how to talk about money with their kids.

And for those parents who feel like they're at a loss as to what to say to their children about the value of a dollar, I'd suggest buying (or checking out for free at your library) Neal Godfrey and Carolina Edwards' well-regarded book "Money Doesn't Grow On Trees: A Parent's Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children" or their follow-up: "Money Still Doesn't Grow On Trees: A Parent's Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Teenagers and Young Adults."
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