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Have You Raided Your Kid’s Piggy Bank?

Poll QuestionSome parents are finding their kid’s stash of cash more convenient than an ATM.

Three out of 10 parents admitted they sometimes “borrow” money from their kid’s piggy bank, according to T. Rowe Price’s 2014 Parents, Money and Kids Survey.

An obvious question – that wasn’t asked – is whether or not those parents replaced the money. Given the quote marks placed around the word “borrow” in the survey question, we’re thinking that might not be the case.

Especially since the practice is most popular among parents who identify themselves as spenders. While only 22% of savers practiced such “borrowing,” 38% of spenders did.

For the record, we’d call that taking or, if we’re not mincing words, stealing.

Ironically, parents who believe cash is obsolete are more likely to break into their kid’s piggy bank.

(And they’re also more likely to bribe their kids to encourage good behavior. If you’re thinking, “Wow, who does that?” the answer is far more parents than should: 48%.)

Here’s what we think: Not having cash in your wallet isn’t a good enough reason to take money from your child.

Especially if said kid doesn’t know about it. But really, even if said kid does.

Who wants to be indebted to a kid?

One of parents’ many, many jobs is to model good financial behavior to their children. And, to be fair, the poll asks about setting a good financial example. Some 91% of parents said this is a goal for them.

But when it comes to practicing good financial behaviors, we’re not all that excited about what parents are achieving. Here are the financial practices parents say they do regularly:

  • Save for a family vacation – 46%
  • Save for retirement – 45%
  • Set savings goals – 44%
  • Compare the trade-offs between spending and saving – 40%
  • Contribute to charitable causes – 40%
  • Save throughout the year for holiday shopping – 40%
  • Contribute to or maintain an emergency fund – 37%
  • Ensure that my investments are diversified – 28%

No word on how many parents regularly raid their kid’s savings. How about you?

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Have you ever taken money from your kid's piggy bank?
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