In the eyes of most children, parents are authoritative “know-it-alls” who can do no wrong. The perception sticks even as children become adults, at least when it comes to managing money.

A new report from Fidelity Investments shows that adult children often put their parents on a financial pedestal, with nearly half (47%) saying that their parents never made any financial mistakes. Parents, meanwhile, are quick to point out their children’s financial misdeeds. More than four in 10 parents (42%) brought up their children’s credit card debt with nearly as many faulting them for not saving for retirement early enough (38%) and not building a large enough emergency fund (36%).

“As families continue to face economic pressure, they can share valuable experiences and insights to tackle key financial issues that impact their personal economy,” Kathleen Murphy, president of Personal Investing at Fidelity Investments, said in a statement.  

Parents and their adult children had different financial priorities, the study found. Adult children were most concerned about saving for retirement (86%), followed by paying off the mortgage (62%) and saving for a child’s education (44%). Parents, on the other hand, had fewer financial concerns, with 30% saying they didn’t face any financial issues at all.

Children were markedly more concerned about their financial future than their parents.  More than half of adult children (57%) said they worry about their financial future at least once a month or more. Only 32% of parents said they worry that often. 

The report is the second to be released from Fidelity’s Intra-Family Generational Finance Study conducted online during the period of July 24 – August 29, 2012. The study compared 152 parents to one of their adult children. To qualify, parents had to be at least 55 years of age, have an adult child older than 30 and have investable assets of at least $100,000. Their children qualified if they were at least 30 years of age, had money saved in an IRA, 401(k) or other investment account, and had at least $10,000 saved.

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