What is money parenting?

Are you a freestyler? Here's what you need to know.

Freestylers are likely to say "There is no substitute for real life experience. A child has to learn by trial and error. They’ll soon understand how to handle their money.” What else are they likely to think or do?

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Commissioned by Eastspring Investments, the Asia Money Parenting survey was conducted among 10,000 parents across 9 Asian countries to find out how parents across the region engage their children about money matters. It revealed 5 money parenting personas that differed based on: the extent of parents’ involvement, the importance parents placed on money parenting, and the level of the parents’ financial knowledge.

Freestylers believe that real-life experience is the best way for a child to learn how to manage money. They are confident that their child will figure out everything in their own way and therefore need little guidance about how to handle or manage money.

Half of all Freestylers surveyed are parents of older children who were not given strong money management guidance from a young age. Freestylers are most likely to say, “There is no substitute for real life experience. A child has to learn by trial and error. They’ll soon understand how to handle their money.”

How they teach about money matters

As a result, Freestylers think that actively teaching a child about how to manage money, or constantly ‘interfering’ to guide their financial behaviour, simply isn’t necessary.

78% of Freestylers think that money parenting is important versus 95% of all parents in the Asia Money Parenting survey.


Most Freestylers provide their child with pocket money. But because of their belief in the effectiveness of real-life experience, these parents also usually encourage their child to earn money by doing part-time jobs. By doing this, they aim to help their child understand that it is not easy to earn money, so they value it more.

Freestylers want their child to understand the concept of what money can buy through their own encounters and experiences. Yes, there may be some bad experiences, but that is all part of growing up and learning about real life. They want their child to spend their own money, buy items for themselves, and learn how much things cost.


They believe that as the child gets older, their understanding of financial matters will become ever more sophisticated thanks to the everyday problems they encounter and the new situations they face.

Freestylers are also more inclined to money parent individually than operate as a parental team with their spouse when or if they do give money advice to their child.

In fact, 13% of Freestylers say ‘no one in particular’ is responsible for teaching their child about money management versus just 4% of all parents.


Their money parenting goals

These parents very much hope that their child will learn about money management themselves and realise the importance of being debt-free. And they firmly believe that the best approach to achieving this goal is to let the child learn by themselves.

Freestylers are thus supportive of their child rather than actively driving them into some specific behaviour relating to money management. Only a quarter of these parents provide their child with a savings box (versus half of all parents). And only a third of them open a savings account for their child (versus half of all parents).


The majority of Freestylers, however, have Life Insurance to provide financial security for the whole family. But they see little need for additional investments that are specifically designed to support their child.

Their money parenting success

Because of their ‘hands off’ approach, however, 46% of Freestylers answer “I don’t know” when asked if they are doing a good job of money parenting, versus just 12% of all parents. Another 42% say they did the best they could, but are not sure how good.

In fact, 18% of these parents say they have “no idea how to measure money parenting success” (versus just 5% of all parents). There are no specific criteria that they use to judge if their child is financially competent, unlike other parent personas who perceive success based on whether their child knows how to grow money (36% versus 21% of Freestylers).

Most believe that their child is “growing up just fine” by gaining a real life understanding about financial management, just like their parents did.

How well they know money

Most Freestylers admit that they themselves do not have sophisticated financial knowledge. They score themselves only 4.88 out of 10 on financial knowledge, versus 7.17 among all parents.


Freestylers do not see a lot of value in learning about financial investments and have even less interest in teaching their children about such things.

They also do not seek financial advice from the bank or a financial advisor to complement their own financial understanding or help prepare their child for the future. Almost a quarter of them say they would not ask for financial advice from any other person, versus just 7% of all parents.

However, if you are a Freestyler who is curious about how other parents are money parenting, check out our #MoneyParenting site or subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated with our latest content.

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