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Money News

Many Americans Say Not Saving and Investing Are Top Regrets

December 19, 2017

  • Survey: 36% of Americans wished they’d saved more in 2017
  • 11% regretted falling into debt, 11% wish they’d invested
  • Make 2018 the year you get smarter about your money
2 min read

Regrets, we’ve all had a few. For many of us, our biggest “if onlys” are centered around how we wish we’d been better with our money.

The financial site GoBankingRates recently surveyed 5,000 adults to find out what they wished they’d done differently with with their wallets in 2017.

Here’s what they learned:

People wish they had saved more money

The good news is that Americans appear to be saving more money than they used to. While 57% said they had less than $1,000 in their savings accounts in 2017–that’s an improvement from 2016 when 69% reported having less than $1,000.

11% regretted falling into debt in 2017

The bad news: 36% reported they have no savings at all, up from 34% last year. So not surprisingly, savings woes topped the list of financial regrets. More than a third of all Americans said they wished they’d been better savers, according to the survey.

Another top regret? Spending too much money on things they didn’t need. Twenty-three percent of respondents said that they regretted spending too much on non-essentials.

People also wish they’d stayed more in the black–11% regretted falling into debt in 2017.

(On a related note, one third of Americans have $0 saved for retirement, according to a March survey from GoBankingRates.)

People wish they’d invested

In 2017, there was also a lot of remorse about staying on the sidelines as the stock market roared ahead.

Eleven percent of survey respondents said not investing in the stock market was their biggest “if only.”

While many may look on in wonderment at the stock market’s 2017 rally–with indexes such as the S&P 500 up 19.5% year to date as of December 15*–it was mostly wealthier Americans who benefitted.

Nearly 94% of the top income earning families owned stocks in 2016 versus about one-third of lower income families, according to a report put out by the Federal Reserve in September.

Younger Americans have remained cautious since the Great Recession. Less than a third of Americans between the ages 18 and 29 owned stocks since 2009, according to a Gallup survey released in early 2017.

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Resolutions for 2018

If being better with your money was your top resolution in 2017 –as it was a top concern for many Americans–consider January 1, 2018 an opportunity to make a fresh start and rededicate yourself to saving and investing.

Rather than looking back with anger at yourself for not making smarter financial decisions, or stewing over the money you didn’t save, let’s wipe the slate clean and start Stashing for a better future.

By Lindsay Goldwert

*Source: CNN

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