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Survey finds gap in financial perceptions between parents, adult children

Do your adult children have an accurate picture of your financial future?

Apparently, most people here in Bellaire would answer: "No."

Fidelity Investments recently conducted a survey in which it asked parents and their grown children the same questions about things like estate planning and long-term care arrangements, but asked them when they were apart from one another. It then compared their answers. The result? It seems like we all have some reconciling to do.

For example, while 97 percent of parents responded that they did not think they would need financial assistance from their children at any point, 24 percent of children thought their parents were likely to need some financial assistance at some point. And while 38 percent of children thought their parents would be "well-off" during retirement, only 20 percent of parent respondents agreed.

Another figure that caught our eye is that children tend to underestimate the value of their parents' estate by about $100,000. The researchers think this is because parents mistakenly believe they have given their children accurate and clear financial information, but children think they have only received general information. The result, as you can see, is quite a misunderstanding.

So, why does this matter?

In short, it seems like parents and adult children are not on the same page, and how can you adequately prepare for the future when you are expecting the wrong thing? Making proper arrangements -- speaking with your children, compiling your relevant paperwork, meeting with an attorney -- is essential for a problem-free future.

Source: Associated Press, "Let's Talk: Survey finds older parents, adult children can't agree on basic financial planning," Mark Jewell, Nov. 14, 2012

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