The Latvian schoolchildren’s and their parents' greatest desire is to go on a family trip within the next five years. This was the conclusion of a study conducted by Citadele Bank on Latvian schoolchildren’s and their parents' bravest dreams for the next five years, and parents' expectations regarding their retirement.
The study revealed that greatest desires were related to recreation, technologies, entertainment, education and the comfort of living in all of the polled age groups. A family trip abroad or a trip to one of Europe's amusement parks was the top dream on schoolchildren’s list: 43 % of 1st–8th graders and 55 % of their parents mentioned this. Travelling is equally topical for high school students: a trip abroad is the third most important dream that 49 % high school students wish to bring to life. It is also important for schoolchildren of all ages to go to cinema and concerts more frequently; this was important for every one in three students.
Girls and boys develop different dreams as early as in primary school. Boys eagerly wish for new appliances: game consoles (33 %) and PCs (23 %); they also want to take up sports (21 %). For girls, in turn, convenient life in a private house (33 %) and having a pet (23 %) are the two runner-ups after the desire to travel. Parents' opinion regarding their schoolchildren’s biggest dreams is similar; however, an important difference exists: it is more important for parents to ensure their children have separate bedrooms than the children themselves. Schoolgirls Māra and Elza (2nd and 4th graders) who took part in the presentation of the study, agree with the Latvian schoolchildren’s general opinion. "Yes, we will definitely want to go on a trip with mom and dad. But we would also love to have a swimming pool by the house," both primary school girls dare to dream.
"Priorities change rapidly between boys and girls: boys enjoy their childhood whereas girls become more conscientious, and start thinking about education and personal growth. Boys attending 5th–8th grade still have PCs, game consoles and new smart phones as their priorities; this is important for one in four boys. Conversely, it is more important for girls to take part in school exchange trips (33 % girls mentioned this) and develop their hobbies, such as photography, using professional equipment," explains Jolanta Jērāne, Head of CBL Life and CBL Open Pension Fund, both subsidiaries of Citadele Bank. "The fact that parents' desires regarding technologies are different does not surprise: new smart phones are among top five wishes on the list for only 4 % of primary school-children's parents. In turn, one in five primary school students wants a smart phone," points out Jērāne.
As for interpreting the results on high school students, Toms Reinis, the President of Riga School Students' Council, welcomed the students' wish to study in Latvia. "I am glad that one in two high school students wishes to acquire higher education in Latvia. Of course, nothing matches the desire to acquire a driving license: this is the top wish for 70 % senior high school students. However, an interesting matter of fact is that a driving license is equally important for both girls and boys whereas boys are the ones to want a car (59 %) as opposed to girls (36 %)," Reinis points out. "I am generally glad about the provident dreams of high school students; the aim of Riga School-Children's Council in educating youth is unaided life and facilitation of personal growth. Savings is a practical tool for adults who work and take care of their families whereas being part of a school council is a wonderful opportunity to lay sound foundations for a successful future," explains Reinis.
Parents' and children's opinions for the next five years differ however, the differences are proportional: conflicts form in seeking balance between recreation, technologies and education. "While waiting for the results of the study, we expected abstract and unrealistic dreams; however, when we received the results, we learned that they are fully implementable. An interesting matter of fact: in the majority of cases, both students and parents mentioned unrealistic costs as obstacles for bringing their dreams to life. This speaks volumes of lack of information and, in early childhood, understanding of things. However, if dreams are realistic and people are aware of their costs, then bringing dreams into life becomes very possible: all one needs is to have reasonable planning in place. As for dreams that require at least five years in order to bring them to life, the best way to move ahead is to acquire endowment insurance which enables to make savings and assure oneself against personal accidents," explains Jērāne.
Parents Wish to Care for Their Children during Retirement: Children Want to be Independent
As for retirement age and plans for it, parents and schoolchildren have no doubt that being able to take care of one's health (priority for 90 % adults) is key. The desired pension amount among parents is EUR 1243. Compared to the data of the State Social Insurance Agency (VSAA) data, parents are nearly five times more optimistic about the current reality.
Parents have clear priorities regarding their retirement age: health, recreation and support for their families. Moreover, it was concluded that the feeling of home in Latvia and patriotism are constant values; only 5 % parents expressed their desire to spend their retirement years abroad.
"Parents' and school-children's opinions regarding retirement age were generally the same apart from one significant difference. Parents expressed a clear desire (over 80 % respondents) to support their children financially and practically, for example, by looking after their grandchildren. Their children, in turn, would not want to ask for such report from their parents. Only an average of 30 % schoolchildren would like for parents to support their children financially during retirement, and as few as 39 % of schoolchildren would want their parents to babysit their grandchildren. It looks like school-children want to be independent and let their parents rest," points out Jērāne.
When responding to the question regarding the desired amount of pension for parents, schoolchildren were closer to the current reality (EUR 1003) as opposed to parents (EUR 1243). VSAA data suggests that the average pension in Latvia was EUR 279 during first 10 months of 2015. "People can and should dream about such pension levels however they must be actually covered, i.e. this requires making regular 3rd pillar private pension savings. People typically start thinking about this when it is no longer easy to achieve their dream pension: when they are 40–45 on the average. However, in order for a pension to be the same level as a salary, one should start thinking about savings in due time," explains Jērāne.
This study was carried out from 2–18 November 2015 in cooperation with the e-klase.lv website, and 3445 Latvian schoolchildren and their parents took part in it.