BECU Survey Discovers Majority of Parents Aren’t Talking with Kids about Money

New data shows that 82% of parents cite fear as a barrier to having the conversation

SEATTLE (October 3, 2019) — Research shows that teaching financial education at an early age helps people develop stronger money management habits as adults. However, when it comes to talking with their children about money, BECU’s Finance and Parents Survey found that parents simply aren’t having the conversation.

BECU, the largest community credit union in the country, commissioned a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults to uncover the relationship between parents, children and finances and found that:

  • While parents said they would rather talk about finances than sex with their kids, only 28% are doing so.
  • 82% of parents cite fear as a barrier to talking about finances with kids, but only 42% of parents admit they themselves are afraid of having the conversation
  • Even though respondents agreed that parents should lead the “money talk” with teens, nearly three in four parents believe that a financial professional is the best resource for teaching their kids.
  • Despite parents avoiding the conversation, the next generation understands the importance of financial health: 44% of Gen Z respondents noted “good spending habits” as the most important money lesson young people should know, followed by “how to create a budget” and “saving for emergencies.”

“Parents often talk with their children about many of life’s challenges. Yet, our survey shows they seem to be neglecting one very important topic: money,” said Stacey Black, BECU financial educator. “Whether parents are feeling afraid or unprepared, our goal is to help build their confidence with the right resources and advice to start the conversation and help prepare their kids for the financial realities of becoming an adult.”

Initiating the Next Big Talk

To empower parents to begin the money talk, BECU created the Next Big Talk conversation guide (available in English and Spanish on, which focuses on the four areas of financial health: spend, save, borrow and plan.

Created in partnership with BECU financial educators, the guide includes:

  • Prompter questions to help spark a two-way discussion between parents and teens on managing money responsibly.
  • Activities that parents and teens can do together to reinforce smart money management.
  • Tips for managing cash flow, building up savings, managing debt responsibly and setting goals.


Hands-On Financial Education

BECU’s commitment to financial health also extends beyond the resource guide with the co-op offering in-person support in each of its local communities. On October 14, the member-owned credit union is holding its Annual Day of Service event. More than 2,000 employees will host financial reality fairs for an estimated 11,000 students from 18 high schools in Puget Sound and Spokane.

The goal of the Annual Day of Service is to create realistic financial scenarios for teens in a setting where they receive coaching while navigating the decision-making process to live within the means of their persona. Students are each assigned a persona and income during these interactive fairs, and challenged to manage their expenses while navigating various spending decisions around transportation, housing, entertainment and more.



About BECU
With more than 1.2 million members and nearly $20 billion in assets, BECU is the largest not-for-profit credit union in Washington and one of the top five financial cooperatives in the country. As a member-owned credit union, BECU is focused on helping increase the financial well-being of its members and communities through better rates, fewer fees, community partnerships and financial education. The credit union currently operates more than 50 locations in Washington and two financial centers in South Carolina. For more information, visit

For further information: Bethany Hawley, BECU 206-439-5919