Mums and dads who open savings accounts for their children and encourage them to save regularly are likely to instill lifelong habits, the survey found.
Research for government-backed NS&I found an “enduring influence” from parents in building long term savings habits as well as emotional bonds built between the generations through joint savings habits.
Some 50% of Britons say they had a savings account opened for them by their parent or guardian when they were a child.
There is evidence, says the survey, that younger generations of parents are more likely to help their children save than previous generations.
Only 15% of those aged 65+ had a savings account opened for them before they were five but nearly a third (31%) of 16-24 year olds say they have had a savings account since early childhood.
Just over half of over 16s (51%) saved regularly as a child, either by themselves or with parents investing on their behalf. Almost two thirds of over 16s (62%) have saved regularly into adulthood.
The average amount that adults save each month is £117, however almost a third (30%) of Britain’s savers put less than £50 into savings each month. Just under a quarter (22%) do not have a savings account, either never having one or used to have one but no longer do.
Nearly three quarters of people (72%) add to their savings after covering their living expenses each month, with 43% able to occasionally top up their savings pots each month.
While just under a quarter of adult savers (22%) have decided to remain with the same savings provider as their parents, 23% have set up their first savings account with a different provider. Nearly one in five (19%) switched their account to a different provider from their parents or guardians.
Of those who received financial education as a child, 91% received informal financial education from their parents, compared to only 15% of adults having received financial education from teachers.
Ian Ackerley, NS&I chief executive, said: “Saving is undoubtedly a family affair, with positive habits being built through the generations.
“We would appeal to all parents to have conversations about savings with their children. Talking openly about money can be linked to developing financial awareness and the capability of children to save.”
• The Intergenerational Savings section of the NS&I Savings Survey was conducted by Populus among 2,064 British adults aged 16+ between 11 and 13 January 2019, and 1,019 12-15 year olds between 17th and 29th January 2019.