In the age-old tug-of-war between nature and nurture, when it comes to investing, nurture pulls considerable weight, according new research from the Charles Schwab Foundation.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the study found that 56% of teenagers surveyed said that they are concerned about their parent's finances. At the same time, 87% said that their parents are the first place they turn for financial advice.
Don Phillips, a managing director with Chicago-based fund tracker Morningstar remembers when he was 13 years old and his father explained to him what a mutual fund was, and bought him 100 shares in one. "I saw that investing was something he did and that it was part of being a responsible adult," said Phillips.
Phillips' experience is not unique, but sometimes children learn bad financial habits at their parents' knees, too.
Schwab found that 31% of people aged between 13 and 18 years who were surveyed had debt, whether to an individual or to a company.
"Many young adults have grown up in an environment of access," said Shawn Parker, a senior financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial. "Their parents, as a generation, were not good savers."
While people may know their personal finance weak points, they might be unable to identify the reasons those habits were formed.
Eileen and Jon Gallo, authors of "The Financially Intelligent Parent: 8 Steps to Raising Successful, Generous, Responsible Children," urge people to think about their own childhood memories surrounding money, whether it be clipping coupons with their mothers, paying bills at the kitchen table, or listening to a grandfather talk about retirement savings.
Then, people should question whether this is what they want for themselves.
Another suggestion is to ask parents what they wish they had done differently, knowing what they now do.
"Too many families keep money matters secret," said Neale Godfrey, who wrote "Money Still Doesn't Grow on Trees: A Parent's Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Teenagers and Young Adults." "It's more taboo than talking about sex."