This post is about adult children.  Another post about dependent children is here: http://agenomics.ca/?p=450

There is increasing emphasis on financial education and financial literacy.  Main stream media and academic journals are adding their voice to the call for more financial education.  A similar theme weaves through each published piece.  The theme is:  my parents didn’t teach me enough about financial matters.  The suggestion underlying this theme is that my parents are to blame for the financial mess I now find myself in.  Such baggage we carry!

A U.S. study on women between the ages of 25 to 55 uncovered very negative emotions about parents and financial education.  A quote from the study*:

Many participants expressed negative emotions not only about their own financial situations, but also about the lack of familial support and guidance about

financial matters early in their lives.

I have many concerns with the tone of most of what I am reading these days on financial literacy.  Top of mind for me are:

1.  Adults need to take responsibility for their actions.  It is no longer ok to blame your parents.

2.  The era that you grew up in is very different from the way money is viewed today.  Access to credit, banking technologies, online investing, social pressures, complex family structures, influx of new financial providers such as pay-day loans and many more factors have changed.  For example, your parents could not have taught you about credit risks because there were very few credit options when they were young.   It would have been unlikely that most parents had the financial experience to hold family discussions on investment products, student loans, division of assets at time of divorce, tax strategies and so forth.

3.  Family values can be wonderful guidance systems for financial decisions.  Values seem to be missing from most of the financial literacy material I’ve been reading.

4.  The first lesson to teach your children is to not blame their parents.

*Motivating Women to Adopt Positive Financial Behaviors, by Megan E. Rowley, Jean M. Lown, and Kathleen W. Piercy.  Published in the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, Volume 23, Issue 1, 2012