The roots of student credit card debt?

Parents need to be good role models when it comes to money management, new research has suggested. Published in Springer's Journal of Family and Economic Issues, the study showed parents have a powerful influence over the financial behaviours of their children as they grow up.

Investigators from East Carolina University found parents who argue about monetary matters may be contributing to rising credit card debt among those in their student years.

It was demonstrated that individuals whose mother and father often disagree over financial matters are twice as likely to have more than two cards compared to those whose parents rarely fight about such matters.

The authors noted: "We need to help students and parents learn financial skills and establish healthy financial attitudes at earlier ages to prevent poor financial habits from taking root.

"It is therefore important that the influence parents have over financial decisions should not be underplayed," they added.

Chartered Psychologist Kim Stephenson, who is also qualified as a financial adviser, says:

"Parents are first role model children have. What you want is to set an example of being sensible, honest and open, having discussions like adults and not screaming matches or nasty silences etc. If they’ve got a good model of sensible behaviour with money they’re more likely to do the same themselves, they see that it works.

"And if you can’t set that example yourselves, try to expose them to good habits, at school and with people who you know who are sensible with their money.  That way, the behaviour they see, and that they may copy, is going to help them. If what they see is anxiety, anger, resentment, fear etc. then they may learn to associate those emotions with money, which isn’t a good start for them in learning how to react sensibly to having (or not having) money themselves."

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