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What are your financial regrets?

What are your financial regrets?

Category: Money

Updated: 04/01/2016
First Published: 04/01/2016

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Many people view the start of a new year as a chance to take stock of their finances, but while some are full of motivation for the year ahead, others have a few financial regrets – so it could be a good opportunity to learn from them.

Saving = the key

Research from The Share Centre has revealed that over a quarter (26%) of those aged 65-74 admit that their biggest financial regret is not starting to save earlier in life, despite the fact that many have generous final salary pension schemes, highlighting the importance of forward planning.

It's a similar story for those aged 75+, with 19% wishing that they'd started saving sooner. Not only that, but 21% of over-65s and 22% of over-75s wish that they'd put larger amounts aside, while 7% of those aged 65+ wish that they'd invested in certain stocks when they were younger, which would have boosted their returns even further.

The beauty of hindsight

The figures suggest that those who are older and wiser are now looking back on the financial decisions they made in their youth and are realising just how early they should have started preparing for the future – and how much more they should have saved in the process.

Hindsight really can be a wonderful thing, particularly when it comes to finances, so why not benefit from the wisdom of the older generation? "If those already at or in retirement are admitting they haven't saved enough money and are now looking back with regret, then those with retirement ahead of them need to take note," said Richard Stone of The Share Centre. "Whether it's a case of not saving early enough, or simply not putting enough aside, it seems that even final salary pension schemes are not sufficient to support them."

Don't have the same regrets!

Essentially, this all means that you need to start saving from as young as possible, and you should be setting aside as much as you can afford to build up a healthy pot over the long term. Try not to be distracted by short-term goals – having financial security in later life will be worth far more than the latest gadget – and you may want to consider different investment options, too.

Having a workplace pension should always be the first port of call, but you may want to consider alternatives, too. Cash ISAs would be ideal so you can build up your savings tax-free, and you may like to go on from that to consider stocks & shares ISAs (if you're comfortable with the higher level of risk) or even traditional investments: Richard Stone points out that "the UK stock market has delivered a return of over 600% since 1990, compared with just 68% by cash," so if the returns from your savings account don't look appealing enough, it could be worth looking elsewhere.

What next?

Find out more about stocks & shares ISAs

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.