Gen Z Imagines An Inheritance It Will Not Get

Memo To Gen Z: Cancel Lamborghini Order

ByABC News
September 10, 2012, 3:24 PM

Sept. 10, 2012 -- Thirty-nine percent of Generation Z (kids aged 13 to 22) think that they will be getting an inheritance--thus, that they won't need to worry as much about saving for retirement. Only 16 percent of their parents, however, intend to leave them any money.

It's disconnect that could play havoc with future sales of Lamborghinis.

The two generations' different expectations are borne out by a new survey, "Generation Z and Money Survey," produced by market research company Head Solutions Group on behalf of investment advisers TD Ameritrade.

Ameritrade's managing director of investor services, Carrie Braxdale, says that up to a point Gen Z kids and their parents share the same view of the future. She was surprised to see, for example, that when both groups were given an open-ended, non-multiple choice question asking them to list their biggest concerns about the economy, they gave virtually identical answers.

Without any prompting, both groups said jobs and unemployment were their biggest worry (kids 26 percent, parents 25 percent). Their fourth-biggest concern was not having enough money (kids 8 percent, parents 10 percent). Braxdale cites this as proof of just how powerful an influence the parents' financial view can be on their kids'.

For this reason, she says, it's crucial for parents to spend time with their children discussing such subjects as the proper use of credit cards or learning how to make—and stick to--a budget.

The survey also documents quite vividly, however (here, parents may want to cover their eyes, lest they be shocked) that what they think they have been discussing with their kids may not be the same as what the kids think: 38 percent of Gen Z respondents say their parents have spoken with them about saving for retirement; 49 percent of the parents say that they have.

The degree to which the youngest generation and their parents are not on the same page financially is proof that young Americans who grew up during the recession did not learn much from their parents' woes, says USA Today.

Kids in the survey were not asked why they believed they would be living comfortably on their parents' money in the future, but Braxdale hazards a guess: It's because they're living comfortably on it now.

"We can't say for sure what their rationale is," she says, "but when you're young, and your parents are providing for all your needs," it's not unreasonable to suppose that this might go on forever.

Gen Z has much less confidence that Social Security will be around to help them in retirement: 35 percent believe it won't be, versus 6 percent of parents. And Z's expectations about retirement are different: 51 percent of parents imagine that retirement will be a time when they no longer work for money; only 37 percent of kids expect that.

The survey of some 2,000 U.S. residents was conducted this spring—roughly 1,000 kids and 1,000 parents. It took ever participant 12 minutes on average to complete. Why would any 13-year old kid sit still that long? The fact the survey was online, says Braxdale, helped.