Even as our modern society shows us every type of grandparent possible, misconceptions about grandparents persist. A recent Next Avenue article ("5 Myths About Grandparents It's Time to Trash," February 2015) debunked some of the most common:


  • Grandparents play less of a role in children's lives than they did in the past. In fact, grandparents may now play a more significant role in children's lives than at any other time in history. Increased longevity means children have their grandparents for longer, and smaller family sizes mean those children get more individual attention.
  • Grandparents need financial support from their adult kids. It's actually much more common to have money flow the other way.
  • It's becoming less common for children to grow up with a grandparent in the home or living nearby. According to the Census Bureau, the amount of children living with a grandparent rose from seven to ten percent between 1992 and 2012. In addition, there is no evidence to support the notion that children today live farther from their grandparents than in the past.


We tend to underestimate how influential grandparents are in young people's lives, especially when it comes to financial education. A 2014 TIAA-CREF intergenerational study found that 85% of young adults are open to discussing finances with their grandparents.


However, only 8%of grandparents are likely to start a conversation about money and saving for college with their grandkids under the age of 18. The study found only three in 10 grandparents think they can influence their grandkids' money habits.


Young adults, however, have a different point of view — 73% say their grandparents do influence their saving and spending habits, and 59% consider their grandparents to be very good to excellent savers. According to the study, young people want to talk with grandparents about their memories and life experiences, which can provide an opportunity for financial education.


Do you have conversations with your grandchildren about money and saving?