Britons’ biggest financial regrets in 2010

Nia Williams

January 1, 2011

Fifty-three per cent of UK adults stated that their greatest regret in 2010 was not paying off debts more quickly; while a over a third (37%) identified not saving for retirement earlier as their biggest financial woe. Eighteen per cent regret spending too much in the run up to Christmas and 14% regret spending too much on a partner.

While property is still seen as a valuable investment as 14% regret staying in a rented property too long, one in ten (9%) people regretted buying a house.

In addition, when asked what areas of their finances they are most and least happy with, 82% said they were most unhappy with the level of debt they had on credit cards and loans, eight out of ten Britons said they were not happy with their pension provision and three quarters (76%) say they are not happy with their savings pot.

In fact, the survey showed that Britons are unhappy with most aspects of their financial situation, as 74% reported that they were unhappy with their general saving and 60% were unhappy with their general spending.

Richard Brown, senior savings product manager at first direct commented: “Ensuring that you plan ahead with your finances is extremely important, and starting to save for retirement as early as possible allows a better standard of living later on.

“The earlier you can begin to save for retirement, the more your money will work for you and acquire interest. Likewise, paying off debts quickly where possible prevents interest charges from rising and rising.

“The New Year is the ideal time to reflect on your financial habits and change these for the better. The earlier people start to plan their finances and look to the future, the easier they will find their long term financial position.”

The research also reveals a sharp division in financial happiness between the generations. Fifty seven per cent of over 60s are happy with their general spending compared with 32% of 16-29 year olds. Just over half (51%) of over 60s stated that the recent economic turmoil has not affected their attitude to spending and saving compared with a third of 16-29 year olds, as tough mortgage restrictions on first time buyers and high youth unemployment appear to have taken their toll.

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