You have your mother’s eyes and your father’s debts: Study finds how teens inherit money habits from their parents

It would appear that genes aren’t the only thing that parents pass down to their children, with a study finding teenagers exhibit similar traits when it comes to handling their finances.

Young people whose parents struggle to pay off their debts are less likely to budget their own finances sensibly compared to those with parents who can live within their own means, the Money Advice Service has found.

And two-thirds of 15 to 17-year-olds whose families can save for ’emergency costs’ have a regular habit of saving their pocket money or wages from part-time work, compared to 47 per cent from families who can’t cope with unexpected costs.

Money Advice Service chief executive Caroline Rookes said: ‘We know our money habits are formed very young, and once formed are extremely difficult to shift.

‘But I am struck by how heavily a young person’s money management habits are influenced by their family’s past and present financial behaviour.

‘This is our first glimpse of how these young people are coping with the transition into adulthood – we see a generation “coming of age” through a period of austerity, a group that’s witnessing rapid financial change and learning how to cope and plan.

‘It’s vital we keep track of their habits effectively so we can better understand their challenges and help them deal with life’s financial ups and downs.’

Although teenagers take note of their parents’ attitudes to money, there are positive signs that they will be better equipped to deal with their finances once they reach full adulthood.

‘Pester power’ costs parents £460 a year

Parents spend around £460 a year on average on things they do not need after giving in to the pestering of their children, a survey claims.

The study, of children aged two to 15, found that sweets, snacks and junk food were among the most popular items, with four in 10 pestering their parents for treats.

They also demanded a host of other less likely purchases. DIY tools (13 per cent) and cleaning products featured in advertisements (8 per cent) were among the items parents bought after persuasion from their children.

When it came to parental defences, half of those questioned said they told a child they could not afford a particular item, while one on five distracted their offspring with a snack.

One in eight (13 per cent) went so far as to promise their child their desired item – but never bought it.

Ten per cent of those questioned said they caved in and bought their child whatever they wanted as they could not be bothered to deal with the fuss.

One in 10 parents make house purchase choice based on schools, study shows

Research by Nationwide demonstrates increasing desperation of parents scrambling to secure best education for their children

Nearly a quarter of UK parents of children of school age would be prepared to pay between 2% and 10% more for a new home – potentially thousands of pounds extra – in order to be in the catchment area of a good state school, according to research by Nationwide.

In a sign of the growing desperation of parents scrambling to secure the best education for their youngsters by living close to the top state schools, nearly one in ten (8%) admit they would shell out a premium of more than 10% extra for their house, while 8% would pay up to an additional 2%.

The research, published today by the UK’s largest building society, the Nationwide, and carried out by YouGov, also shows that parents are already making house purchase choices based on schools. Nearly one in five parents (18 %) admit that a school league table or school Ofsted rating has influenced where they chose to live. It comes as parents are currently doing the rounds of open days held at primary and secondary schools, for admission next year.

More than half of students get no parental help

The majority of students are applying for controversial new student loans.

More than half of university students receive no financial help from their parents – resulting in most having to take out loans to cover tuition and living expenses.

In a survey by website almost three quarters of students said they did not expect any help from parents. But a smaller number – 57 per cent – did not actually receive any.

The backdrop is steeply rising university costs and the introduction of a complex and controversial new student loans system, which launched in 2012. From that year annual university fees in England rose from up to £3,000 to up to £9,000.

The site’s research shows two-thirds of students take out student loans to help cover the cost of university and 54pc have a job while studying. Smaller numbers – two in five – use savings to help meet the costs.

A report on new loans system – effective from September 1, 2012 – is complex. All students in England can apply for tuition loans, covering their course fees, and maintenance loans that help with living costs such as accommodation, bills and books. 

Most children worry about bullying at secondary school

Children starting secondary school are most concerned about being bullied for being too clever or not clever enough, a survey has found. Beatbullying and Parentdish have launched an online guide for parents.

The poll of more than 800 eight- to 15-year-olds by the charity BeatBullying and parenting website Parentdish found other common concerns about starting a new school include keeping up with homework, finding their way around school and making new friends. It found that 58 per cent of primary school pupils were worried about being bullied when they start secondary school.

BeatBullying and Parentdish have produced an online guide that offers parents advice on how to spot whether their child is being bullied and what can be done to stop it.

Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive of BeatBullying, said schools can help children by having a “buddy” or “peer mentor” scheme in place. “Many children are worried about moving from primary to secondary school,” she said. “It’s a hugely exciting time – with a new school, new teachers and new classmates – but it can also be very scary.”

Revealed: 50% of British parents would not send their kids to private school – even if they didn’t have to pay fees

Half the nation’s parents still would not send their children to a private school even if they did not have to pay for it, according to a survey published today.

The survey of 2,210 parents, carried out by YouGov, revealed 50 per cent would still want their child to go to a state school.

Three out of five who wanted to remain with the state sector wanted to do so because they thought it was important for their child to mix with other pupils from all walks of life. In the case of 38 per cent, it was because they themselves had been happy to go to one. A total of 37 per cent said they felt it was the duty of the Government to provide good quality education for all the nation’s children.

A breakdown of the figures showed that parents in Scotland and Wales were most likely to remain with the state sector – 62 per cent in both cases.

Least likely to send their children to state schools were parents in London – where just 35 per cent were prepared to stay with state schools despite the fact that the area recorded the biggest improvement in state school performance in the entire country.

The survey asked parents whether they would be likely to send their children to private schools if fees were removed from the equation – and 32 per cent said they would compared to just under 10 per cent who actually d so despite an average cost estimated at £15,000 a year.

Of those who would send their children to private schools if money was no object. 81 per cent said they felt private schools offered the opportunity of a better education, 54 per cent said they had better teachers and 52 per cent said they offered their pupils better networking opportunities later on in life – the “old boys’ network”. In addition, 17 per cent said they would opt for the private sector because they thought there was less chance of their child being bullied at school.

Of those who do send their children to private schools, 24 per cent said they were able to afford it because their child had been offered a bursary or a scholarship.  Private schools have increased the amount of aid they offer less well-off parents in the wake of the demise of the former Conservative Government’s assisted places scheme under Labour.

A further 24 per cent acknowledged they could only afford the fees as a result of grandparents chipping in with the cost. The £15,000 average fee for private schools cited by the parents in the survey included a sum for extra-curricular activities (school trips) and uniforms. In addition, 17 per cent said they had been saving for years to meet the cost and 10 per cent said they had cashed in part of their pension schemes to help pay.

Richard Boyd, of  Duncan Lawrie private bank – which funded the survey, said: “The average price of sending a child to private school has seen a real term rise of almost 65 per cent since the early 90’s and – while many children might be lucky enough to benefit from scholarships and bursaries – there are still many parents having to pay significant amounts of money to keep their child in private school.”

The survey showed 46 per cent of those with children in private schools would be prepared to cut down on holidays to keep their children in the school and 21 per cent would downsize their home.

Parents forced into debt to pay for school uniforms

Parents are being forced to fork out hundreds of pound to kit out their children for attending state schools, according to a survey out today.

The average cost for kitting out a primary school pupil is now £156 – including uniforms, coats and bags – and £285 for a secondary school.

According to the charity Family Action, which carried out the survey, the cost has increased as the number of flagship academies and free schools increases.

The charity points out that this means parents on the poverty line are being forced to spend up to two-fifths of their income in August on back-to-school costs.

“Many schools use the transition to academy status as an opportunity for rebranding – which often includes changing the uniform,” says their report, The Big Stitch Up. “Although some headteachers will argue that rebranding a school can have a positive effect, it can also result in parents having to pay a significant penalty in back-to-school costs.”

The survey of 13 state schools – 10 secondary and three primary – unearthed one example of an academy where 70 per cent of parents had to take out loans to pay for the new £225 uniform.  The previous uniform for the old school had cost £99.

The charity is urging schools to scrap specially branded school uniforms let parents shop around for plan, standard clothing from a retailer of their choice.

The report adds that local authority school uniform grants are now a “postcode lottery” – with several offering nothing at all in the way of help for parents.

Advice from the Department for Education says schools should “make certain that the uniform chosen is affordable and does not act as a barrier to parents when choosing a school”.

£550 back-to-school bill for parents of the gadget generation

The cost to parents of equipping a child to go back to school has reached £550 as school bags are filled with a bewildering array of electronic gadgets.

John Lewis said the days of children taking a lunchbox and protractor into the classroom were long gone as kids today take everything from an MP3 player to e-readers and smartphones with them into the playground.

The high street giant said the cost of today’s school uniform, school bag and its contents amounted to an average of £550.80. This compares, in today’s money, with £252.40 in the 1980s and £231.20 in the 1960s.

Matt Leeser, head of buying for communications technology, said the huge shift towards gadgets meant John Lewis expected to sell two computing devices every minute in the two weeks up to the August Bank Holiday. The chain also expects to sell two touch screen tablets to every one laptop or desktop as more kids take tablets into the classroom.

He said research suggested 45 per cent of kids take a smartphone to school, costing an average of £362, while 35 per cent carry headphones. Nearly fifth of kids take an MP3 player into school, 5 per cent take a tablet and 2 per cent an ereader.

It marks a stark contrast with school bag of the Sixties, when the most expensive items were two text books, costing around £45.10. Today, while the cost of lunchboxes, calculators, and pencil cases have come down, the rise in demand for technology means parents face having to find a small fortune for the Back to School rush.

State schools cost parents £40,000 a child: Extra-curricular activities, transport and breakfast clubs push costs up

Parents spend more than £40,000 putting each child through state schools, research reveals.

Basics come to £1,614 each year while extra-curricular activities add £1,268. Transport costs £379, meals £369, shoes £186 and sports kit £59. Breakfast clubs add £558 and textbooks £63.

Over 14 years, basics add up to £22,596 but parents pay £17,752 in extras such as £480 a year on private tuition, £327 on sport, £120 on trips and £132 on technology.

Half of the 1,496 parents surveyed were concerned they could not afford all expenses.

Research by the London School of Economics last year found parents could save themselves around £26,000 during primary years alone by avoiding fees at independent schools and moving to areas with top state schools.

Students’ parents ‘need more information’ on finance

Ministers should focus more resources on explaining the student finance system to parents to avoid children being put off university by debt, a thinktank says.

In a report titled Access for All, published on 8 July, the Strategic Society Centre says the government should target an information campaign at parents of potential students, making it a specific policy objective next year.

It follows a study by the thinktank, which is led by former Downing Street policy adviser James Lloyd, on what factors drive young people’s worries about the cost of going to university.

The study is based on a survey of more than 5,000 young people who achieved Key Stage 4 qualifications (like GCSEs) between 2004-07 and expressed a desire to go to university.

It finds parental education, earnings and occupation are all predictors of young people’s financial concerns with the costs of university.

The children of graduates who are working in non-graduate jobs are much more likely to report worries about the costs of higher education, as were the children of parents who had no experience of higher education, the study says.

Mr Lloyd, director of the Strategic Society Centre, said: “It seems that when young people weigh up the costs and benefits of higher education, the experience of their parents is paramount.

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