Wealthy Kiwis often fail to pass on their financial knowledge to their children, research from Massey University has revealed.
The university interviewed 31 people who each had a net worth of $1 million or more and found a third had concerns about their heirs' ability to handle their inheritance yet 70 per cent of those who were concerned had not provided their heirs with any assistance.
Claire Matthews, a senior lecturer at Massey, said the results of the research were surprising and showed more financial literacy education needed to be undertaken.
"We know from previous research that people pick up their financial literacy skills from observing their parents, rather than formal instruction."
Matthews said there was an expectation that wealthy people would pass on their knowledge to their children but that did not seem to be the case.
"There seemed to be an almost Victorian attitude towards talking about money - as one participant put it, "I'm sure financial matters are more sensitive than sex."
Matthews said the research findings also had implications for those with less money.
"It probably means the average Joe on the street is doing it at an even lesser level because they don't have that background."
She said there was an assumption was if you had accumulated a certain level of wealth you would have a certain level of financial literacy.
Matthews said financial literacy was as important as literacy and numeracy and should be incorporated more into what schools were already doing.
Parents also needed to talk about their financial decisions more with their children, she said.