7 Money Habits You Should Steal From Your Kids

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As parents, it’s typical to convey the wisdom and knowledge you’ve acquired over the years unto your children. But when it comes to finances, there are actually a few things the baby boomer generation can learn from their millennial kids.

TD Bank’s fourth annual Love & Money survey polled 1,749 Americans who are currently in relationships, married or divorced about their approach to finances — and there were major differences between the millennial and boomer generations.

Click through to find out what you can do to avoid money mistakes to stay happy.

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Millennial Money Habit No. 1: Talk to Your Significant Other About Money

Millennials are much more likely than baby boomers to talk to their significant other about money on a regular basis. Seventy-five percent of millennials said they talk to their partner about money on a weekly basis, compared to only 44 percent of boomers. In fact, nearly all – 97 percent of millennials – said they talk to their partner about money monthly, compared to 78 percent of boomers. These stats disprove some common money myths about millennials.

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Why You Should Do This

Talking about finances and other formerly “taboo” topics is a part of millennial culture.

“Millennials are more open to talking about everything,” said Dr. Jane Greer, Ph.D., a nationally-renowned relationship expert, psychotherapist and author of “What About Me? Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship.” “It’s a sharing culture — from sex to money, the things people share that were once considered private or intimate are now communicated in great detail. Social media has played a big role in that.

“Although talking about money can be uncomfortable, it can benefit your relationship,” Greer added. “Not talking about money occurs so that people can avoid their partner’s opinions or judgments about what they do. People may withdraw or retreat, which can lead to conflict. Talking about money keeps things front and center so that you can maintain closeness and intimacy with each other, and feel supported in your mutual desires.”

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Millennial Money Habit No. 2: Be Comfortable Talking About Money

Perhaps because millennials discuss money more often, they are more comfortable talking about the topic. Ninety percent of millennials said they are “extremely comfortable” or “very comfortable” discussing money with their partner, whereas only 77 percent of boomers rated their comfort levels that high. Openness is one of the unique strengths millennials bring to every aspect of their lives.

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Why You Should Do This

The more comfortable you get talking about money with your partner, the more comfortable you get with your partner in general. This can help to build intimacy and lessen tension in the relationship, which can prevent the relationship from losing steam.

“The more you talk about your individual needs and are mindful and aware of your joint needs, the more comfortable you are with one another,” said Greer. “You will be less likely to build up resentment and anger towards your partner because you will not feel they are controlling your spending habits.”

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Millennial Money Habit No. 3: Meet With a Financial Advisor

Over one-third of millennials — 38 percent — said they meet with a financial advisor at least once per year. Only 30 percent of boomers said they regularly meet with a financial expert, with 60 percent saying they never meet with an advisor.

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Why You Should Do This

Meeting with a financial advisor can be beneficial in helping you develop a plan to meet money goals — and millennials are much more likely to make productive use of this resource.

“Working with a financial professional is empowering to millennials,” said Jason Thacker, Head of U.S. Deposits & Consumer Payments at TD Bank. “The data indicates that not only are millennials seeking more expert advice, but they also feel more successful than older couples when it comes to investing.”

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Millennial Money Habit No. 4: Take Time to Learn About Investing From Experts

Millennials are more likely than boomers to seek advice from financial advisors on investing: 25 percent of millennials say they need investing advice, whereas only 14 percent of boomers do. This also seems to lead to a greater sense of investing success, with 14 percent of millennials stating that investing is their most successful area of financial management, and only 8 percent of boomers stating that they are most successful in investing.

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Why You Should Do This

“Millennials specifically seek out guidance from financial advisors more than any other age group, and they are most interested in advice on investing in their future,” said Thacker. “The results reveal that millennials aren’t shy about needing or seeking help to get where they want to be financially.”

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Millennial Money Habit No. 5: Face Your Financial Fears

Millennials are much more open to admit that they have financial fears and inadequacies than boomers. Survey respondents were asked to choose their top financial barriers to meeting goals from the following options:

  • Living paycheck to paycheck
  • The stress of repaying other debt first
  • Fear of not being able to make payments
  • Don’t fully understand what steps to take
  • Don’t have time to research
  • None of the above

Sixty-one percent of boomers chose “none of the above” compared to only 17 percent of millennials. And millennials were much more likely than boomers to choose “fear of not being able to make payments” (22 percent versus 6 percent), “don’t fully understand what steps to take” (22 percent versus 5 percent) and “don’t have the time to research” (19 percent versus 5 percent).

See: How I Use Fear to Make Positive Financial Decisions

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Why You Should Do This

Perhaps an unwillingness to face financial fears and shortcomings is the reason boomers are unlikely to meet with a financial advisor, whereas millennials are willing to acknowledge their financial shortcomings and seek professional help to conquer them. Your financial situation won’t improve if you’re unwilling to acknowledge the barriers preventing you from meeting money goals, and taking the steps necessary to overcome them.

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Millennial Money Habit No. 6: Save Money for Leisure and Gifts

Across the age groups, the No. 1 reason to save money is “just because” or for an emergency fund, but millennials are more likely to save more for leisure activities or items than boomers. Nearly half of millennials — 47 percent — said they are saving for vacation and travel, whereas only 28 percent of boomers are.

Millennials also spend more money than boomers on gifts for their significant others for holidays and celebrations including anniversaries, birthdays and Valentine’s Day. Millennials report spending an average of $108 on a Valentine’s Day gift, whereas boomers spend only $29.

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Why You Should Do This

It’s definitely important to have money saved for emergencies and retirement, but spending on experiences and gifts can also have major benefits.

Traveling has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, boost happiness and lower risk of depression, which certainly makes taking a vacation a good financial investment. And giving your partner a generous gift can benefit your relationship.

“Whether it’s a special occasion like an anniversary or birthday, or just something you purchase to show them that you’re thinking about them and they matter to you, [gift giving] is always an opportunity to let your partner know how much you care about them,” said Greer. “Your gift tells them that you’ve taken the time to think about what they would like, and/or remembered something that they told you they wanted, which makes them feel important, valued and loved by you.”

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Millennial Money Habit No. 7: Know How to Spot a Scam

Boomers are much more fearful of being a victim of a financial fraud or scam than millennials. Only 7 percent of millennials said being the victim of fraud is their biggest financial fear, whereas 19 percent of boomers said they were most fearful of fraud. This could be because millennials are more tech savvy and knowledgeable when it comes to spotting a scam.

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Why You Should Do This

If you think a financial product or service could be a scam, you should be willing to seek expert advice before spending or investing money. Once again, millennials’ willingness to meet with financial advisors could be the reason they are less fearful of scams.

If you’re concerned you’re dealing with a scammer, talk to your kids about it and show them what information you have — especially if you’re talking to someone online. Chances are they can spot the scam from a mile away.

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Here Are a Few Money Habits You Can Teach Your Kids

There are many things boomers can learn from their millennial children, but there are also some money habits you shouldn’t hesitate to pass onto your kids:

  • Don’t keep financial secrets from your partner. Nearly a quarter — 24 percent — of millennials said they are keeping a financial secret from their partner, whereas only 5 percent of boomers said they are.
  • Don’t argue about money. Having productive conversations about money is important, but arguments usually just end with both parties upset. Only 6 percent of boomers said they argue with their partner about money on a weekly basis, wheras 32 percent of millennials said they do.
  • Save money for retirement. Even though it might seem like it’s early for millennials to start saving for their golden years, it’s really never too early to start financially planning for the future. Thirty-eight percent of boomers said that retirement is the top reason they are saving money, whereas  only 23 percent of millennials are prioritizing retirement savings.

Click through to read more about what Social Security will look like by the time millennials retire.