According to the Multi-Generational
Views on Family financial Obligations: A MetLife Survey of Baby Boomers and
Members of Generations X and Y, nearly four in five (78%) survey
respondents believe there is an obligation to provide for a surviving spouse if
one dies unexpectedly. More than half (52%) believe in leaving something for
younger children, typically enough to carry them through at least part of
college (55%). Six in 10 (63% of Gen Y and Gen X respondents) think providing
for children is important, compared to 38% of Boomers.
Most Americans also believe that
children have some obligation to help their aging parents financially if
necessary, though many parents (42%) say they wouldn’t accept money from their
children. More than six in 10 (62%) believe children should call their parents
at least once a week to see how they are doing; 58% say children should have a
parent live with them for health or economic reasons (50%). Forty-six percent
say they should provide financial support to their elder parents or in-laws if
there is a need.
Even given the desire of Americans
to leave enough money if they were to die unexpectedly, 41% with life insurance
coverage say their coverage falls short or aren’t sure they are covered
adequately. Gen Xers are most likely to believe they have inadequate coverage
(40%), compared to 28% of Boomers and 31% in Gen Y.
“Americans have a strong desire to
help their families financially, but their generosity is not unbounded,” said
Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute.
“While the research shows money provided to help with specific financial issues
is a reflection of love and caring, not a familial mandate or obligation,
parents and children are not prepared to give in all instances.”