Making mom happy this Mother’s Day may be as easy as listening to her financial advice.

A new survey from McGraw Hill found that only one-third of moms believe their kids are financially well prepared for their futures.

Nearly half of moms surveyed (49%) report their children (under age 18) are unprepared to get a job, and one-third say their children are “not prepared at all” to save money or live on their own.

In addition, 44% believe their children will not be able to finance college. The study was conducted by the McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union and surveyed 300 mothers.

Shawn Gilfedder, president and CEO of McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union, says that while moms always strive for the best for their children, teaching financial skills has become increasingly difficult since the 2008 recession.

“The opportunities for our children to grow and prosper have become more challenging,” Gilfedder says. “Finances are simple—we do a good job of making it more complicated. But it’s important as parents that we help our children build a strong foundation.”

Experts say the first step to making children more financially literate is talking about it, and a new study shows moms are leading the discussions.

An online survey from Fidelity Investments finds moms are often the first to initiate financial conversations within the family, with 70% of the moms surveyed, aged 55 and up, reported they had had in-depth discussions with their adult children about their “inability to cover living expenses in retirement,” compared to 55% of dads.

Fidelity surveyed 975 parents, aged 55 and up.

“…Moms often have a more intimate relationship with children and family’s activities,” Gilfedder says. “They are there at times when those questions [from children regarding finances] come. “

Here are some tips from Gilfedder on setting your kids up for financial success:

No. 1: Help them build a picture—literally. Gilfedder says parents should teach children at an early age the connection between “want” and “cost.”

“I like counting dollars like calories and showing them how certain activities add up over time,” he says. “It helps engrain in children that opportunity—they realize certain accomplishments that have to be made to achieve the end game or result.”

No. 2: Use cash in front of them. Even though most purchases are done with the swipe of a card or tap of a screen- use real cash once in awhile to show your children how it works, Gilfedder recommends. “The concept of dollars and cents has to be real for them. Today, most dollars are virtual. It’s harder to achieve that financial wellness when there is no piggy bank. “

No. 3: Teach them to save for something. The act of savings should  start as young as kindergarten age, he says. “There are things like Pizza Day at school, and they realize, ‘I need money to achieve certain results.’ Attach the opportunities to save for whatever product works.”

Then as they get older, apply these lessons to college and even retirement if appropriate.

No. 4: Practice what you preach. Being financially fit takes discipline, just like a diet. Teaching kids all about having solid nutrition is important, but you have to demonstrate results in your home. “If you come home and there is KFC every night for dinner, it won’t matter what they have learned,” Gilfedder says. “We have to live the same things we are teaching our children, and show by that process. If we don’t, it’s a long uphill battle for your children.”

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