A majority of Americans (75%) wish they could change their financial decisions, with 18% saying that not saving for retirement early enough is their top money regret, according to Bankrate.com’s Financial Security Index survey. Not saving enough for emergencies came in second, with 13% citing it as their biggest money blunder.
Not surprisingly, those ages 65 and older feel the most remorseful about not saving early enough for retirement. More than a quarter (27%) of respondents in this age bracket say it’s their biggest regret, compared with 4% of respondents ages 18 to 29 and 17% ages 30 to 49. Conversely, younger Americans are more likely to say they wish they had saved more for emergencies. Twenty-one percent of respondents ages 18 to 29 and 10% of respondents ages 30 to 49 consider this their biggest financial regret, compared with only 7% of Americans ages 65 and older. But Millennials are taking action: Bankrate found that Millennials have put a focus on emergency savings, as they are the only age group to say they are more comfortable with their savings now than they were a year ago.
“Inadequate savings looms large among Americans’ financial distress,” says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com. “Whether it’s saving for emergencies or retirement, Americans’ biggest financial regret is not saving enough.”
Other areas that cause financial remorse include taking on credit card debt (9%), not saving enough for children’s education (8%) and excessive student loan debt (9%). Twenty-four percent of respondents ages 18 to 29 cited student loans as their top source of financial remorse, compared with 11% ages 30 to 49, 2% of Americans ages 50 to 64 and 0% of those ages 65 and older.
Despite these financial regrets, Bankrate.com found that its Financial Security Index jumped to its highest reading since February 2015 and second-highest reading ever at 104.7. Those saying their overall financial situation is better than one year ago outnumber those saying it is worse by nearly two to one. In addition, 31% of Americans report higher net worth than one year ago, compared with just 13% that say their net worth is lower now. Both men and women noted improved financial security compared with one year ago, with each posting the best readings in over a year. Comfort level with savings was the only area that decreased in the past year.
More information about the survey is available here.