The Pulse

Parents’ Optimism About Kids’ Futures on the Rise Since Decade Began

One Pain Point for 2018: Parents’ Growing Responsibility to Care for Their Own Moms and Dads

Most Parents Self-Identify as The Star Wars Character Yoda When it Comes to Money Issues

December 20, 2017 — NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–American parents of children ages 18 and younger are more hopeful about the future of children than they were at the start of the decade, according to a new Ipsos survey released today and sponsored by New York Life.

More than half of parents (54 percent) say children in the United States overall will have a better standard of living than their parents do when they become adults, up from 41 percent in 2011. When asked about their own children, more than two-thirds (67 percent) say their children will have a better standard of living than they do, compared to just over half who said the same thing in 2011 (54 percent).

Parent respondents are also optimistic about their own finances heading into 2018, with 57 percent reporting that their financial situation will improve next year. And two in five (38 percent) will seek professional guidance to manage their finances.

Next-Gen Will Have It Better…

“Despite a growing number of uncertainties in the world around us, parents remain hopeful that the next generation will have it better,” said Brian Madgett, Vice President, New York Life. “Parents report that they plan to address their financial burdens in 2018, reducing debt, saving more and seeking professional help to manage their finances – important steps that bode well for their family’s financial future.”

Even with these upbeat sentiments, one item seems to be looming– almost half (46 percent) expect they will have to increase their responsibility for the care of their own parents in 2018.

“This survey validates what our agents are seeing in homes across the country – more parents find themselves ‘sandwiched,’ responsible for their children and facing a growing responsibility for their parents. Preparing for the implications of the sandwich effect – which may change their financial priorities and derail some of their good 2018 plans will be an important priority for many in the next year,” said Madgett.

Ways to Help Children Succeed

Parents said they find the following practices important to help their children succeed in 2017:

Practices that are needed2017
Teaching financial responsibility by giving an allowance, a piggybank, a savings acct, and advice regarding smart spending


Encouraging your child(ren) to work toward a well-paying career choice38%
Putting money aside for college education31%
Making sure you have a financial plan to take care of your child in case something happens to you29%
Talking openly about your own personal or family finances29%
Leaving a financial legacy for your child(ren)19%


“We applaud parents who are empowering their children with a financial education and at the same time are taking steps, including saving for college and leaving a legacy, to protect the financial future of their children,” added Madgett.

Yoda – “Do. Or do not. There is no try…”

When respondents were asked which Star Wars movie character best reflects how they handle their family finances, the majority selected Yoda, who is described as patient and someone who uses past experiences to guide future decisions. Also critical to Yoda’s persona is teaching the next generation.

“We believe the choice of Yoda means more parents are understanding the connection between a bright future for children and financial literacy,” said Madgett.

Here are the Star War characters choices and percent who picked these characters:

Yoda – patient, will use past experience to guide future decisions (serving them very well), while passing on wisdom and knowledge to future generations is also an important piece of overall goal23%
Luke Skywalker – family oriented, will build financial goals around needs of family, relying on the expertise of others (though at times reluctantly) to find the way to navigate through the ups and downs19%

Chewbacca – loyal and committed, will consult partner when making financial decisions and is ready to take on any task for the good of their family

Princess Leia –somewhat adventurous, challenging norms but remaining focused, will seek balance between enjoying achieved successes and continuing to work hard for continued growth/success toward financial goals13%
ObiWan Kenobi – wise and experienced, will apply past knowledge to side step trouble and find success and is actively willing to take on big obstacles (working solo or with others) for the greater good12%
Han Solo – independent and willing to take risks, has/will experience some financial setbacks but perseveres towards a positive financial goal for self and/or family9%
C3PO – fretful, will often wind up in a financial bind, sometimes needing help from others but other times surprising even themselves in working out a solution9%




Survey Methodology
These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted December 6 – 11, 2017 on behalf of the New York Life. For the survey, a sample of 1,002 parents (ages 18 and over) from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online, in English. To qualify for the survey, respondents had to be the parent/guardian of at least one child under the age of 18 that is currently living in their household. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ±3.5 percentage points for all respondents surveyed.
About New York Life
New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States* and one of the largest life insurers in the world. New York Life has the highest possible financial strength ratings currently awarded to any life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies: A.M. Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa), Standard & Poor’s (AA+).** Headquartered in New York City, New York Life’s family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. New York Life Investments*** provides institutional asset management. Other New York Life affiliates provide an array of securities products and services, as well as retail mutual funds. Please visit New York Life’s website at for more information.
*Based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500 ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune magazine, 6/12/17. For methodology, please see
**Individual independent rating agency commentary as of 8/1/17.
***New York Life Investments is a service mark used by New York Life Investment Management Holdings LLC and its subsidiary, New York Life Investment Management LLC.