Personal Finance

It probably comes as no surprise that your parents helped shape your financial habits.

And a new survey from TD Ameritrade shows that the way your parents handled money is likely the biggest influence on how you manage your own finances now.

That tops other events from your early years, including your household’s financial situation, access to financial education and community’s financial state.

When broken down by generation — between millennials, Generation X and baby boomers — the youngest cohort is the most vocal about how those financial influences have shaped them, the survey found.

More than half of millennials — 53% — had at least one parent who was not frugal, versus 39% of Gen X and 34% of baby boomers.

Gen Xers, meanwhile, were most likely to say their parents had spoiled them, with 35%, compared to 28% of millennials and 8% of baby boomers.

Today, millennials are most likely to admit that they are not frugal with money and are susceptible to overspending. Meanwhile, baby boomers were most likely to say they pinch pennies.

When it comes to financial influences, millennials were more likely to turn to people aside from their parents, including other family and friends.

“They are much more likely to go seeking information and seeking advice,” Chris Bohlsen, director of investor services at TD Ameritrade.

A key takeaway for millennials, as this generation has children themselves, is to think about setting a good example, Bohlsen said.

“It’s not just educating yourself, but creating those habits and that discipline,” Bohlsen said.

For all generations, it’s never too late to set a positive example with healthy savings and investing habits.

“Even with adult children, it’s not too late to have conversations,” Bohlsen said.

More from Invest in You:
Baby boomers face retirement crisis — little savings and high health costs
5 last-minute tax tips for 11th-hour filers
‘I stash cash where my wife can’t find it’: America’s juiciest money secrets

The online survey was conducted in November on TD Ameritrade’s behalf by The Harris Poll. It included 1,000 adults ages 22 and up with at least $10,000 in investable assets.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

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