Children Have More Financial Worries than Parents

Parents and their adult children have different views about their priorities and what financial issues they are currently trying to tackle.

The second report from Fidelity Investments inaugural Intra-Family Generational Finance Study indicates that saving for retirement is the top issue that adult children are addressing (86%), followed by paying off the mortgage (62%) and saving for a child’s education (44%).

With many parents already in retirement, just 38% said saving for retirement was a concern, and 28% said their grandchild’s education is an area they are trying to tackle. Nearly one-third (30%) of parents said they do not face any financial issues. 

The survey demonstrated that concerns about financial matters are having a greater impact on children versus their parents.  More than half (57%) of adult children worry about their financial future at least once a month or more, compared to only one-third (32%) of parents who say they worry that often.


Parents and their adult children perceive each other’s financial savvy much differently.Forty-seven percent of children said their parents had not made any financial mistakes, and only one-quarter (24%) of adult children said their parents did not save for retirement early enough. One-in-five (22%) said their parents saved money in the incorrect type of account.    

On the other hand, parents of adult children were quicker to point out the errors their children had made, including racking up credit card debt (42%), not saving for retirement early enough (38%) and not building a large enough emergency fund (36%).  

The first report from Fidelity’s study uncovered communications gaps within families about critical topics. (See “Parents, Adult Children Need Open Dialogue.”)

More information about the second report is here.