Not saving replaces debt as Britons’ biggest financial regret

 

a nest egg makes us happy

 

For the second year running first direct has surveyed UK adults asking for their biggest financial regrets. Results show that overall the British public was more unhappy with their finances in 2011 (48%) than 2010 (36%). In 2011 ‘Not paying off more debts‘ moved to second place with ‘Not saving enough’ taking the top spot and paying into a pension was less of a priority than in 2010.

Fifty-two per cent of UK adults stated that their greatest financial misstep in 2011 was not saving enough; while a third (33%) identified not paying off debt as their biggest financial woe, compared to just over half in 2010 (53%). Fourteen per cent regret not paying enough into their pension, a massive drop of 23% on 2010 (37%) and it seems people still felt they made a mistake by staying in rented property too long and not buying a house (12%).

Property continues to be seen as a valuable investment as 12% regret staying in a rented property too long and not buying a house and only 4% regretted buying or investing in property. However, compared to 2010 just 6% regret spending money on an expensive holiday and when it comes to love, it seems that money is no object as just 2% regret spending money on an expensive wedding, a 2% reduction on 2010.

Biggest Financial Regrets 2011 versus 2010:

 

2011

2010

1

Not saving enough 52% Not paying off more of my debts 53%

2

Not paying off more of my debts 33% Not paying into a pension 37%

3

Not paying into a pension 13% Spending too much on run up to Christmas and gifts 18%

4

Not buying a property and renting rather than buying 12% Staying in a rented property too long 14%

5

Spending too much money on a partner 7% Spending too much money on a partner 14%

6

Borrowing money from family or friends (or lending) 7% Paying for an expensive holiday 12%

7

Paying for an expensive holiday 6% Buying a car 12%

8

Investing in stocks and shares 5% Buying a house 9%

9

Not investing in stocks and shares 3% Taking out a student loan 7%

10

Buying a car 3% Paying for an expensive wedding 4%

In addition, when asked what areas of their finances they were most and least happy with, 87% said they were most unhappy with not taking advantage of tax free investments, an 8% increase on 2010, but the number of Britons who said they were not happy with their credit card and loan debt only increased by 2%, the same increase seen amongst those who were unhappy with their pension provision.

In fact, the survey showed that overall the British public was less happy with their finances in 2011 than 2010 and that the majority of Britons are unhappy with most aspects of their financial situation, as 77% reported that they were unhappy with their general saving and 68% were unhappy with their general spending.

Areas of their finances Britons are most unhappy with 2011 versus 2010:

2011

2010

Not taking advantage of tax free investments

87%

Credit card and loan debt

82%

Credit card and loan debt

84%

Pension provision

80%

Pension Provision

82%

Not taking advantage of tax free investments

79%

Savings pot

81%

Savings pot

76%

General savings habits

77%

General saving habits

74%

General spending habits

68%

General spending habits

60%

Bruno Genovese, Head of Savings at first direct commented:

“Ensuring that you plan your long term spending is extremely important as good organisation can help you pay off debts more quickly, increasing disposable income for saving and allowing your money to work for you more effectively.

“January is the perfect time to get your finances in order and start 2012 as you mean to go on. The earlier people start to plan their finances and look to the future, the better their long term financial position will be.”

The research also revealed a sharp division in financial happiness between the generations. Over 55s have the fewest financial regrets with fifty-seven per cent saying they did not have any financial regrets in 2011. Whilst their biggest financial regret was not saving enough (20%) this is considerably lower when compared to the 18-24 year olds (69%).

Over 55s are also happiest about their financial situation, although this has decreased slightly since 2010. 44% of over 55s were happy with their general spending compared to 57% who were happy last year.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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