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The New Generation Gap: What Parents and Children Think about Saving for College; '$tart Out $aving for College Week' Focuses on Education Expenses in 2004; Encourages American Families To Bridge the College Savings Gap

RICHMOND, Va., Nov 9, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- If teenagers expect their parents to shoulder the entire financial burden for college education, they may be in for a rude awakening. According to Bridging the College Savings Gap, a new study commissioned by the Genworth Center for Financial Learning, American parents are not confident of their ability to pay for college. The study reveals a lack of preparedness on the part of parents and a stunning lack of awareness on the part of aspiring collegians.

Forty percent of parents surveyed said that they are "not confident at all" that they had saved enough money to pay for their child's education. Despite that finding, two thirds of high school juniors and seniors are confident their parents had done so. An even greater number of college-bound teens, four out of five, expect their parents to finance their postsecondary education, while an even larger majority, 89 percent, think that their parents' greatest financial goals are paying for their children's education. By contrast, only one in three parents feel the same way.

The release of the study coincides with the start of "$tart Out $aving for College Week," a nationwide initiative of The Genworth Center for Financial Learning (www.financiallearning.com) that starts today and runs until Nov. 14.

"There is an assumption on the part of teenagers that mom and dad are going to handle their college costs but, in many cases, parents simply haven't made adequate provisions," said Raymond Loewe, president of College Money and an advisor to the Genworth Center for Financial Learning. "One of the things parents need to do is to start saving early. Waiting to address this issue until a child is already submitting college applications is simply too late and often can cost parents their financial security later in life."

The college savings gap has potentially devastating consequences on the retirement savings of many parents. Twenty two percent of parents overall expect to tap their retirement accounts to pay for college, a significant finding given that a recent Genworth Center for Financial Learning survey discovered that most Americans are already at risk of outliving their retirement savings. Perhaps even more interesting, the 22% number almost doubles to 43 percent for those earning $50,000 or more annually.

"Parents need to carefully balance how they will fund a child's education with saving for their own retirement," continued Loewe. "Remember, you can take out loans for college, but no one will loan you money to fund your retirement."

Some of the survey's more ominous findings demonstrate wishful thinking by unprepared parents. More than one quarter of those surveyed have either not accumulated savings for their child's education or do not know what they have done to amass enough tuition money for junior. Almost half of the parents expect primary funding for college to come in the form of scholarships and financial aid.

"$tart Out $aving for College Week" was conceived with these families and situations in mind. The initiative encourages American families to realize their college savings and retirement goals, and provides families with the tools needed to get started.

The Genworth Center for Financial Learning empowers Americans financially by providing them with objective information that helps them to achieve their life goals. It does not sell financial products of services from any company, nor does it promote or advise on financial products or providers. A 13-person volunteer advisory board upholds the high level of excellence for the Genworth Center for Financial Learning by ensuring the objectivity of all information on the site. Genworth Financial, the developer of the Genworth Center, is committed to helping people create and preserve wealth, protect assets and enhance their lifestyles.

About Genworth Financial

Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW) is a leading insurance holding company serving the lifestyle protection, retirement income, investment and mortgage insurance needs of more than 15 million customers in 20 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K. and more than a dozen other European countries. For more information, visit www.genworth.com.

SOURCE: Genworth Financial

Peppercom Public Relations
Christine Milligan, 212/931-6161
cmilligan@peppercom.com
Meggan Lennon, 212/931-6136
mlennon@peppercom.com