Millennials Report Receiving More Financial Education than Previous Generations

MINNEAPOLIS (April 5, 2016) – Is financial literacy an important-enough skill that it should be taught alongside reading, writing and arithmetic? Most Americans seem to think so, according to a recent survey from RBC Wealth Management-U.S. and City National Bank.

The survey, conducted in mid-March, found that 87 percent of Americans believe that financial literacy should be taught in schools. Of those in favor of incorporating financial literacy into the classroom, 15 percent said instruction should begin as early as elementary. The rest (72 percent) said it should be taught in middle and high school.

“Having a basic understanding of how money, investing and our broader financial system works is critical in our society today. Yet there is a growing realization, particularly in the wake of the last financial crisis, that many people don’t understand budgeting, investing or how simple financial products like loans work,” said Tom Sagissor, president of RBC Wealth Management-U.S. “That puts them at a disadvantage not only during their working years, but as they begin to contemplate retirement.”

The same survey found that more than one-third of American adults (35 percent) received no instruction on investing -- whether from their parents, school or someone else. Another 39 percent said they simply taught themselves.

“Money has long been considered a taboo topic, even among family,” said Malia Haskins, vice president, wealth strategist at RBC Wealth Management-U.S. “We’ve seen many of our clients struggle with how to talk to their kids about money. In fact, many ask their financial advisor to have the conversation with their kids because they aren’t comfortable doing so themselves.”

But data suggests this trend may be changing.

While 38 percent and 37 percent, respectively, of Baby Boomers (ages 55 and older) and GenXers (ages 35 to 54) said no one taught them about investing, only 29 percent of Millennials (ages 18 to 34) claim to have had the same experience.

In fact, 29 percent of Millennials said they learned about investing from their parents and 22 percent said they learned in school. That’s a vastly different experience than that of Baby Boomers, only 10 percent of whom said they received such instruction at home and 9 percent of whom said they did in the classroom.

Who Taught You About Investing? Total Male Female Ages 18-34 Ages 35-54 Age 55+
Myself 39% 51% 28% 39% 38% 41%
Parents 19% 21% 17% 29% 19% 10%
School 13% 16% 11% 21% 11% 9%
Someone else 20% 17% 24% 15% 22% 24%
Nobody* 35% 26% 43% 29% 37% 38%

*respondents could choose more than one option, unless they selected “nobody.”

This positive trend appears to be continuing with the next generation. Among parents today with kids between the ages of 16 to 22, 83 percent say they think they’ve done a decent job of teaching their kids about money.

How well have you prepared your children to manage their own money? Parents with children under Age 5 Parents with children ages 5-10 Parents with children ages 11-15 Parents with children age 16+
Very well 18% 28% 28% 37%
Okay 29% 42% 50% 46%
Poorly 12% 13% 11% 10%
Not at all 11% 7% 1% 2%
Manage on their behalf 29% 10% 9% 5%

To aid parents in their conversations with kids about money, RBC Wealth Management-U.S. created a financial literacy resource center for advisors to use with clients that includes various educational materials and worksheets – such as Seven Ways to Raise Money-Savvy Kids available on RBC Wealth Management’s website – that are designed for parents, children 17 and younger as well as for adult children into their 20s.

RBC Wealth Management-U.S. has long supported financial literacy through various grants and sponsorships and time volunteered by employees. The firm is a founding member of The Stock Market Game, created in 1991 to increase student’s financial literacy, emphasize the importance of investing and help young people gain a better understanding of the U.S. economic system. The firm is also a longtime supporter of Twin Cities-based BestPrep, which helps administer the Stock Market Game in Minnesota and operates several other financial literacy programs including Financial Matters and eMentors.

City National Bank’s Dollars + Sense financial literacy program is part of its broader commitment to low- and moderate-income communities. Through Dollars + Sense, City National brings both the American Bankers Association “Teach Children to Save” curriculum and EverFi, one of the nation’s leading financial education technology companies, to K-12 students throughout the communities it serves. City National also partners with FDIC Money Smart to provide financial education to low- and moderate-income adults. Research shows that the FDIC Money Smart curriculum can positively influence how consumers manage their finances, and these changes are sustainable in the months after the training.

“Dollars + Sense is a way to do our part to ensure the future success of tomorrow's leaders,” said Samantha Davies, senior marketing manager at City National. “Financial education fosters financial stability for individuals, families and entire communities.”

RBC, the parent company of RBC Wealth Management-U.S. acquired Los Angeles-based City National Bank in November 2015.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of RBC Wealth Management from March 18 to 22, 2016. For the survey, a sample of n=2007 Americans was interviewed online via Ipsos’s American online panel. The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a Bayesian credibility interval. In this case, with a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the sample universe of Americans been polled. The margin of error will be larger within sub-groupings of the survey population.

About RBC Wealth Management – U.S.

In the United States, RBC Wealth Management operates as a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC. Founded in 1909, RBC Capital Markets, LLC. is a member of the New York Stock Exchange, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, and other major securities exchanges. RBC Wealth Management has $264 billion in total client assets with 1,900 financial advisors operating in 200 locations in 41 states. For more information about RBC Wealth Management-U.S., visit http://www.rbcwealthmanagement.com/

About City National Bank

With $36.4 billion in assets, City National Bank provides banking, investment and trust services through 75 offices, including 16 full-service regional centers, in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nevada, New York City, Nashville and Atlanta. In addition, the company and its investment affiliates manage or administer $53.9 billion in client investment assets.

City National is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. RBC serves more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the United States and 38 other countries. For more information about City National, visit the company’s website at www.cnb.com.

For more information, please contact: 

Nicole Garrison, RBC Wealth Management:
612.371.2999 or nicole.garrison@rbc.com