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Parents Are Turning Their Kids Into Spenders

Tickers in this article: TROW

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's not exactly a state secret that kids look to their parents for money, starting with allowances when they're young and sometimes escalating to loans when they're older.

But kids want more from their parents than just cash. They want financial guidance, too, and they count on their parents as mentors on the subject.

T. Rowe Price took a long look at the issue of kids and finances with its Parents, Kids and Money Survey.

"Nearly three-fourths (73%) of parents are having regular conversations with their kids about money," the survey says. "Interestingly, kids think the money conversations are taking place less often than parents. Parents also report that their parents (now grandparents) had fewer money conversations with them when they were kids, but 59% of these parents agree that their parents did a good job teaching them about money matters."

But there is a caveat to those figures, and it's fairly big one.

The conversations revolve around what T. Rowe Price calls "short-term" money topics such as back-to-school shopping, rather than focusing on long-term financial topics kids really need to learn, such as how to create a family budget and how to save and invest money.

That's helping turn U.S. kids into spenders, and not savers. The study points out that 63% of children save for short-term goals and are more likely to spend their cash immediately on products they weren't even saving for in the first place.

Those conversations between parents and kids aren't helping America's youth adopt a healthy long-term view on savings and investing. According to T. Rowe Price, only 21% of U.S. kids believe the best way to save $1 million is through investing in stocks and bonds.

If that's not a shocker, try this: The survey says 24% of American kids believe the best way to save $1 million is by becoming famous.

That's not a recipe for success.

What parents need to do, T. Rowe Price says, is to figure out creative ways to teach their kids about money with clarity and common sense.