Top 4 Regrets Retirees Have About Saving (or Not Saving) - WBCB: The Valley's CW |

Top 4 Regrets Retirees Have About Saving (or Not Saving)


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What are the true money mistakes that real people end up regretting?

We may now have the answers. In a recent poll of retirement-age Americans, 1,600 retirees discussed their biggest regrets when it came to money and saving.

The survey, conducted by the RAND Corporation and the Max Planck Institute in Munich, asked respondents about their regrets when it came to saving and planning for retirement. Here's what they shared.

What Most Retirees Regret About Money Management

Retirement is the goal for many Americans—as part of the American dream as homeownership. The concept of living out your golden years in financial security and freedom can give you a sense of purpose in your working life. But as Time Magazine noted, retirement satisfaction is not as high as it could be. Since 1998, retirement dissatisfaction has increased by about 10%.

That was reflected in the results of the RAND and Max Planck survey, which found that many retirees did have regrets about the way they saved money:

59% of respondents said they wished they had saved more. Four out of five of those who did report saving still expressed some worry about making ends meet in the future. Whether this is real or perceived, it still reflects a need for more confidence in saving and planning for retirement. Financial literacy was frequently an important factor in whether people felt regret over saving. The survey results suggest that learning how to manage money at a young age is a major advantage for those planning retirement.

Being unprepared for the unexpected—namely, health issues and unemployment—is also a major financial risk. This suggests the need for creating a financial safety net in the form of a hefty emergency fund. But how can aspiring retirees—especially those with a long timeline before retirement—make the most of their productive years and put aside more money in a way that's sustainable and doesn't feel like a sacrifice?

Saving More Money Before Retirement

One of the best ways to put aside money for retirement is to do it early. Through the action of compound interest, an investor can put aside even a little bit of money and watch it grow substantially—as long as the timeline is long enough.

But what if you don't have much time? What if you aren't 22 years old, but you still want to put aside money for retirement? Here are some ways to improve your savings for retirement.

  • Credit card rewards. A wide range of credit card rewards can give your budget more breathing room and allow you to put more money aside. Some banks and brokers now even offer credit card rewards that can then be invested in the stock market—allowing you to invest simply by the act of shopping.
  • Focus on saving big, not small. The conventional advice is to skip a small daily purchase to put aside more money for retirement. But how many of us take that advice while ignoring the importance of saving on cars or homes? A good rule of thumb is to spend 25% to 33% of your gross income on mortgage or rent payments. Maintain your car and use it for the long haul, instead of continually leasing or buying new cars. By being frugal with the "big-money" items, you stand a much better chance of saving money that will make a difference come retirement.
  • Take the time to talk to someone. A financial adviser might seem like a major commitment now, but their guidance can make a world of difference on your financial journey toward retirement. Finally, remember that incremental change can lead to tremendous benefits down the road.

You don't have to overhaul your entire savings habits to forge a new system overnight. If you're consistent about finding tangible ways to save, you'll stand a far better chance of not having regrets in retirement.

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