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Mom wears a lot of hats—therapist, nurse, chef, chauffeur—but for many Americans, financial advisor isn't one of them.
Asked about their biggest familial financial influence, 28 percent of adults named … themselves, according to a new CreditCards.com survey, which polled 1,000 adults. (Tweet This) Mom merited a distant second with 16 percent of the vote, followed by a two-way tie between Dad and spouses, which each got 14 percent.
Demographic breakdowns didn't favor Mom, either. Only 14 percent of college graduates named her a top influencer, according to the survey, as did consumers earning at least $75,000 per year. Only 10 percent of Republicans chose Mom, versus 20 percent of both Democrats and Independents.
Don't despair, though, Mom. The trend speaks to how Americans' value self-reliance—which the kids likely learned from you, said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com. "It's how we see ourselves," he said.
Plus, younger kids may still place a high value on your financial input. Ironically, millennials, the generation known for its selfies, were the only age subgroup that didn't pat themselves on the back—31 percent said Mom was their biggest financial influence. Older adults were more inclined to pick themselves. A fifth of those ages 30 to 49 did, and 36 percent of those 50 and older.
Other reports have found Mom a clear favorite for kids still in the nest. In a 2014 T. Rowe Price survey of 924 kids age 8 to 14, 58 percent said they go to Mom first for answers on financial matters, while 39 percent went to Dad, 2 percent to another family member and 1 percent named someone outside their family.
"This points out how receptive millennials and young folks are to that influence" said Schulz, "and how important it can be to have those conversations with your kids. They will listen—they want to know what you think."
Financial literacy experts say it's not clear that it's a good thing adults are moving beyond Mom as a financial role model. "It all depends on how the parents are handling their own personal finances," said Bruce McClary, a spokesman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
Mom and Dad aren't always the best examples, and they know it. A T. Rowe Price survey released this March found that 40 percent of parents are relying on a "do as I say, not as I do" approach to teaching kids about money.
Whether you're setting a good money example or not, be sure that the kids are paying attention, said Paul Golden, a spokesman for the National Endowment for Financial Education. The endowment's ongoing longitudinal study tracking 1,000 former University of Arizona students has found that parental influence is a key driver in success, he said. "Even parents who aren't regularly having conversations with their adult children ... are actually imparting some financial capability down to them," he said.
Yet adult children shouldn't be so quick to rely entirely on themselves, either. Financial literacy studies of both teens and adults paint a grim picture of just how little we know. In a recent NFCC survey, 59 percent of adults gave themselves an A or B in personal finance knowledge. But many readily admitted to bad behaviors, including not having a budget and not checking their credit report, said McClary. "Confidence is great, overconfidence is dangerous," he said.
In other words, the next time you have a financial quandary, consider calling Mom for a consult. "It's always good to reach out to someone you trust to gut check, are you making the right decisions?" said Golden. "Parents have that life experience."