The top 10 financial regrets of UK adults

Nearly half of Brits have financial regrets - with not saving more when they were younger topping the list.

A study, of 4,000 adults, also found a third wish they had started saving for a comfortable retirement earlier in life, with this rising to more than half of over-55s, while 28 per cent regret not educating themselves more about money over the years.

And 27 per cent bemoan not planning their future finances more - and focusing so much on their short-term needs and wants. One in four admitted not investing money was an error of judgment, and 23 per cent would like a redo on periods of their lives, when they lived beyond their means.

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But 41 per cent believe they are not yet financially comfortable as a result of these money missteps, and 37 per cent feel they have missed out on opportunities to grow their money and build wealth, and 27 per cent claim their financial regrets have negatively affected their mental health.

Brian Byrnes, head of personal finance at saving and investing app Moneybox which commissioned the research, said: “The fact that most people never received any financial education and have been left to figure out how to manage their money and plan for the future through trial and error, is just not right.

“And with this in mind, it's no surprise that so many of us only realise our missed opportunities after the fact. Whatever financial missteps you might have taken, this research shows you’re probably not alone in having made them. It's important to look at these realisations as lessons and a wake-up call. Try to remember it is always possible to improve your financial situation with the right guidance and support.”

Review your budget

The study also found 53 per cent of those who have made a past financial faux pas put it down to simply being young at the time and not considering their future properly. However, the research, conducted by OnePoll, also found 34 per cent feel their issues arose simply because they never received financial education.

A similar number (32 per cent) said they just didn’t have a good understanding of how to manage finances or improve their financial situation, while a quarter believe a lack of financial confidence resulted in them making decisions they now regret. As a result, 20 per cent feel they would have been better off if they knew who to ask for better advice or guidance.

Brian Byrnes, from Moneybox, added: “The financial services industry has evolved a lot in recent years and there is now much more information freely available to help people who want to learn how to manage their finances and build wealth for the future.

“As a former financial adviser, I firmly believe that knowledge is power when it comes to your finances and it's so important to spend some time every month, getting to grips with your financial situation.

“The most notable difference between those who are financially confident and those who are not is time spent learning about financial matters.

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"So setting aside at least 30 minutes every week, to review your budget or research the best financial products for your needs or make a plan to help you achieve an important financial goal, will make a huge difference to your confidence and your financial position over time.”

Top 10 financial regrets

  1. Not prioritising saving more when you were younger
  2. Not starting to save for a comfortable retirement earlier in life
  3. Not educating yourself more on financial matters
  4. Not taking time to plan for your future finances, only focusing on short-term needs and wants
  5. Not making and sticking to a budget
  6. Not investing
  7. Taking on more debt than you could afford
  8. Living beyond your means for too long
  9. Not buying a house earlier in life
  10. Burying your head in the sand when it came to finances



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