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Parents Express Doubts About Quality of Life for Future Adults, New Public Opinion Survey Reveals

Just Four in Ten Parents Think U.S. Children Will Have Better Life When They Become Adults

Americans Cite Teaching Financial Responsibility as Key to Giving Children a Brighter Future

NEW YORK, N.Y., May 26, 2011 – American parents of children age 18 and younger are reporting concern about the standard of living for future generations, according to a new Ipsos survey released today and sponsored by New York Life Insurance Company. Just 41% of parents surveyed believe that children in the United States will have a better standard of living than their parents.

When asked to identify which two among six practices they felt would most help their children thrive in the future, 63% of parents picked “teaching financial responsibility by giving them an allowance, a piggy bank, or opening a savings account.” The next five practices are highlighted below.

“Perhaps looking through the lens of the recent financial crisis, parents can see more clearly now the need to educate children about financial responsibility, including savings habits and an understanding of what it takes to protect their future quality of life. This recognition is very encouraging -- the first step in making progress is always grasping the need, and then one can move forward to action steps to ensure that future,” said Chris Blunt, executive vice president in charge of Retirement Income Security, New York Life. “The survey clearly indicates parents are worried about what the future holds for the next generation. This worry for future generations can be addressed in the present with parents proactively securing their own financial plan, one that optimizes for legacy.”

More Ways to Help Children Succeed

Parents also said they find the following practices important to help their children succeed:

  • 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%
  • Making sure they have a financial plan to take care of their children in case something happens to them: 25%
  • Leaving a financial legacy: 6%

Opportunity for the Advisor Community

“The challenge for the advisor community is to help parents make the connection between a bright future for children and financial literacy. It is clear these findings show that there is far more work to be done to educate families about how having a financial plan in place to protect future income can bring peace of mind and future financial well-being to your loved ones. The advisor community can and does play a role in ensuring that future,” added Mr. Blunt.

A Glimmer of Hope

Parents expressed a less worrisome view when they were asked about the future of their own children, with 54% indicating that their own children will have a better standard of living than they do. And, younger parents – those under 35 – tend to be the most optimistic about the future for children; 51% feel that children in general will have a better standard of living than their parents do now, and 62% feel that their own children will be better off.

Survey Methodology

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted in March 2011. For the survey, a national sample of 1,001 adults aged 18 and older with a child under the age of 18 from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the U.S. adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of 1,001 and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire adult population of parents with a child under the age of 18 in the United States had been polled.

About New York Life

New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States* and one of the largest life insurers in the world. New York Life has the highest possible financial strength ratings from all four of the major credit rating agencies. Headquartered in New York City, New York Life’s family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. New York Life Investments** provides institutional asset management and retirement plan services. Other New York Life affiliates provide an array of securities products and services, as well as institutional and retail mutual funds. Please visit New York Life’s Web site at for more information.

*Based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500, Ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune Magazine, May 5, 2011. See for methodology.

**New York Life Investments is a service mark used by New York Life Investment Management Holdings LLC and its subsidiary, New York Life Investment Management LLC.