MIND AND MONEY: They f**k you up, your Mum and Dad – your money too

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 5th February 2016

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.” 

It was Philip Larkin who penned those immortal lines, which we all lambast our parents with at some points during our teenage years. Turns out he was right – especially when it comes to our money.

33 million UK adults say that they have been influenced by their parents’ saving habits – or two thirds of the public. 9 million or 18 per cent think their parents were bad savers – which doesn’t bode well for them.

But we’re reluctant to point the finger – 8 per cent of those surveyed said their parents’ bad habits had a negative impact on their own savings.

The study compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for Post Office Money looks at the changing trends in UK savings.

It revealed that a person’s upbringing has a significant influence on their own finances.

Great if your parents were good with money – and more than half (57 per cent) say their parents’ savings behaviour has had a positive impact on them.

Those with parents who were ‘bad savers’ when growing up, said they rarely saw their parents put money aside (38 per cent), whilst 29 per cent say their family was often in debt. Nearly half (48 per cent) admitted that a safety net wasn’t put in place for any money emergencies that might occur. One in five (19 per cent) said their parents would be unlikely to help them if they were getting into financial difficulty.

In contrast, children of ‘good savers’ felt their parents saved when they were able (54 per cent), regularly put money aside (43 per cent), and had enough money to cope with emergencies (45 per cent). Two-fifths (39 per cent) of those whose parents had a more negative impact on their financial habits say this was because they were regularly in financial difficulty.

Henk Van Hulle, Director Post Office Money said: “Saving will begin at home for many of us, with our own financial behaviour heavily influenced by our parents – whether learning from their mistakes or following in their footsteps. Given that many people wish they had started saving earlier we would encourage families to talk about the importance of financial planning and saving money from an early age. Our research shows that younger people (18-24) are the most likely to feel that their parents have been a good influence on their financial behaviour, so families should use this influence to teach the best lessons possible.”

“Often it can seem impossible to put savings aside every month but even getting into the habit of putting money away on a ‘little and often’ basis can make all the difference, particularly as a good example to your children. More needs to be done to provide young people with a robust financial education and help them see the benefit of having a financial safety-net for the inevitable rainy day.”