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Finances: Parents have a lot to learn

How prepared are parents to teach their kids about money? Not as well as they think they are, according to a survey released last week by the American Savings Education Council and two other finance-oriented groups.

Of the 1,000 parents surveyed, 97 percent felt they understood financial matters at least fairly well, and 82 percent thought they did an excellent or good job managing their money.

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Yet, many of their actions contradicted this self-assessment. For instance, 55 percent of parents roll over credit-card debt each month. When asked where they would put (or advise a child to put) $5,000 to save for education or some other long-term goal, 58 percent did not identify long-term investment vehicles such as mutual funds or stocks. Instead, more than 1 out of 3 parents cited low-yielding certificates of deposit (CDs), savings accounts, and savings bonds.

The survey's sponsors suggest parents take more time to discuss family financial matters with their children, teach kids to identify financial goals, create a budget, track expenses, and comparison shop.

Additional advice for parents can be found on ASEC's websites: www.asec.org and www.choosetosave.org.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor