Why you shouldn’t buy everything on your kid’s holiday wish list

Can’t find that hot holiday toy your kid wants? It may be for the best.

Parents who attempt to buy everything on their kids’ holiday wish lists could actually be doing more harm than good, according to a new report from T. Rowe Price.

The survey, conducted shortly after last year’s holiday season, sampled 1,013 parents who have kids age 8 to 14. A little less than half (45 percent) said they “try to get everything on my kids’ lists, no matter the cost.”

Problems with that attitude come on two fronts:

First, many gift-happy parents take drastic measures to make their kids’ holiday wishes come true, with 59 percent saying they spent more than they should have and 48 percent taking on debt. One in 10 of those dipped into their emergency funds to cover purchases, while 7 percent have taken a payday loan and 4 percent have withdrawn from retirement savings.

Those choices can have far-reaching financial consequences.

Second, experts say kids who get everything on their holiday wish lists may develop poor money habits themselves. Among those indulgent parents in the T. Rowe Price survey, 69 percent report that they’ve been unsuccessful in getting their kids to save money instead of spending it right away.

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