Parents pessimistic about their children’s future

by Grace

Here’s some doom and gloom to match our overcast weather in the Northeast today.  Results of two recent surveys indicate parents are concerned about their children’s economic future.  I can relate.

Ipsos poll of adults aged 18 and older with a child under the age of 18 conducted March 2011:

only 41 percent of parents surveyed think that kids will have a better standard of living. It’s a major tectonic shift in our national belief system, but given the events of the past decade, it’s not that shocking.

Bloomberg poll of adults aged 18 and over, conducted June 17-20, 2011:

Fifty-five percent said they expected American children to have a lower standard of living than their parents do today.

Keep in mind that most parents expect their children to enter the work force with a college degree.

The vast majority of parents expect that their children will pursue a college education. Among those with one or more children under age 18, 94% expect at least one of their children will go to college.

From the Ipsos survey, here are some of the things parents are doing to prepare their children for an uncertain economic future.

  • Encouraging their children to work toward a well-paying career choice: 40%
  • Talking openly with their children about their own personal or family finances, i.e., family income and family expenses: 31%
  • Putting money aside for college education: 28%

The hardest part might be actually knowing what a “well-paying career choice” will be 10 or 20 years from now.

Related:  47% of Americans say college is for career preparation

2 Comments to “Parents pessimistic about their children’s future”

  1. I’ve been thinking about this & reading some of the comments over at ktm. I’m not overly optimistic about the future myself, but I keep coming back to questioning what it is that constitutes a better standard of living. I’m not convinced that more money/more stuff results in a better living standard, above some point anyway, and that sometimes seems like an implicit assumption in discussions and articles on this topic.

    An artist friend of mine once relayed the advice he had received from his father, on how to survive and be an artist. His father (also an artist, IIRC) told him that it was possible to make a living as an artist and have a happy and comfortable life; the key was not to need too much.


  2. I also think about what constitutes a better standard of living. Some aspects, like internet access and labor-saving devices, are important to me and are likely to be available for our kids. But, I wonder about other things like leisure time and the ability to travel, which I consider a function of the debt obligations that will be borne by future generations.

    Not needing too much is KEY! Teaching our kids not to need too much is hard, a constant struggle, I think.


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