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Study: In family finances talks, moms lead the way

Published May 10, 2013 9:20 am

Money • She's the one most likely to broach tough topics.
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Moms are more likely than dads to have a sit-down with their grown children about money.

A study conducted by Fidelity Investments shows adult children are much more likely to have in-depth discussions about wills, elder care, retirement expenses and health topics with their mothers than with their fathers.

Lauren Brouhard, senior vice president of Fidelity Investments, said the results draw attention to the ways in which parents discuss important financial topics with their children.

"Everybody agrees that having these discussions is important," Brouhard said. "The big disagreement is on the level of detail."

She noted that mothers surveyed tended to describe themselves as "the empathizer" in the family, while fathers most often see themselves as "the pragmatist." Correspondingly, 64 percent of the mothers surveyed said it's "not at all difficult" to discuss savings and investing with their children, while 54 percent of fathers had no trouble.

Other key findings of the study include:

• Seventy-nine percent of mothers had comprehensive talks with their children about estate planning and wills, while 69 percent of fathers did.

• Sixty-six percent of mothers had in-depth discussions with their children about health and elder-care issues; 56 percent of fathers did.

• Seventy percent of mothers talked at length with their children about the ability to cover living expenses in retirement, while 55 percent of fathers did.

"We're really encouraging people to have these discussions," Brouhard said. "If you're having trouble, starting with mom might be a good strategy."

The Fidelity Personal Economy Intra-Family Finance Generational Study surveyed 975 parents with at least $100,000 in investible assets, and 152 of their adult children.


Twitter: @jnpearce






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