Kiwis in their mid to late 20s are still heavily reliant on their parents when it comes to learning about how to manage money, yet only one in three believe their parents know what is best for their finances.

The findings come from the second stage of a 20-year study undertaken by Massey University's Fin-Ed Centre on the financial knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of a group of New Zealanders through different life stages.

The study participants were aged 18 to 23 in the first survey in 2012 and are now aged 23 to 27 years old.

The second stage of research found the young people were less reliant on their parents than they were at a younger age, with the percentage of those saying they learned everything or almost everything from their parents dropping from 66 per cent to 47 per cent.

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But parents still remain the biggest source of financial education despite only 35 per cent believing that their parents know what is best for them in terms of taking care of their finances - down from 58 per cent in 2012.

Outside of parents the young adults said life experience was their next biggest educator with 44 per cent citing that as where they got most or all of their learning from (50 per cent in 2012).

Bank staff were the third source although just 8 per cent said they got most or all of their information from there, down from 10 per cent in 2012.

Fin-Ed Centre director Pushpa Wood said relying on parents and life experience had its risks.

"Relying on parents and taking a learning-by-doing approach to money management has some obvious risks, especially if parents are not financially knowledgeable, or if bad decisions lead to costly mistakes that are hard to reverse."

But there were signs that the survey participants were likely to become less reliant on parents in the future with only 29 per cent citing them as their main source of money management education in the next five years.

Survey participants said they were more likely to use financial planners, advisers and counsellors as well as classes as workshops in the future.

"This highlights the fact that as life stage changes, so does the source of information," the report noted.

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The second stage of research also revealed an increase in financial literacy with participants scoring 4.2 out of 7, up from 3.5 points.

But a gap between females and males remained, with females scoring 3.8 out of 7 compared to 4.9 out of 7 for males.

The self-assessment levels also dropped, with 42 per cent rating themselves as poor or fair, up from 36 per cent.

While 41 per cent of males rated themselves as either good or excellent, only 21 per cent of females did.

The report noted that while attitudes to money management hadn't changed, the individuals still appeared to be confident about their abilities.

"They remain wary of credit cards, and acknowledge the importance of saving."

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