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Americans’ top financial regret is failure to save enough

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PHOENIX — More than a third of Americans said their biggest financial regret was not saving enough money, a concern that grows with age, according to a survey released Wednesday by Bankrate.com.

“It’s the concerns about not saving that dwarf the regrets about debt,” Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for the financial website, told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “The top two regrets that Americans have: not saving for retirement early enough, not saving enough for emergency expenses.”

According to the survey, 39 percent of Americans regretted not saving enough, with 18 percent citing lack of retirement savings and 14 percent most worried they didn’t put enough away for emergencies. Lack of savings for their children’s education was the top concern for 7 percent.

The regrets about savings consistently grew with age, and it was higher for those 73 and over than any other age group.

“As the years go by, the reality of having missed out on years worth of compounding early in your career, that looms larger and larger,” McBride said.

The survey also revealed that just over half of those who most regret their lack of savings have started addressing the issue, and 25 percent of that group said they have no plan to act.

McBride said saving has to become a habit.

“Sign up for your workplace retirement savings plan, have those contributions go via payroll deduction, set up a direct deposit from your paycheck into a dedicated savings account,” he said.

“That way you’ve accomplished saving for both retirement and emergencies before you even roll out of bed on payday morning.”

The next biggest financial concern was debt, listed as the top regret by 20 percent of those surveyed. Ten percent cited credit card debt, and 8 percent student loan debt. Two percent were most worried that their housing debt was too big.

People most worried about debt were more likely to be doing something about it than those worried about savings, McBride said.

“Those that have credit card debt and student loan debt as their biggest financial regret, they were also more likely to be addressing that than those that had other financial regrets,” he said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.

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