Failure to save is Britain's biggest regret

The Momentum UK Team 05 January 2012

Our biggest financial regrets of 2011 were not saving enough and failing to pay off our debts, according to a recent survey published yesterday.

It is the second year that First Direct has carried out the survey which found that the British public is more unhappy with their finances now than the previous year.

Of the 1260 adults who were questioned in November last year, 48% said they were unhappy with their financial situation compared to 26% in 2010.

52% stated that their greatest financial misstep in 2011 was not saving enough.

This replaces failing to pay off more debt which was top of the financial regrets of the survey carried out at the same time the previous year. Debt slipped from over half (53%) of adults biggest regret in 2010 to a third (33%) in 2011.

Asked about which areas of finance they were most unhappy with, 87% of those questioned claimed they didn't take advantage of tax-free saving plans and 82% regretted credit card and loan debt.

Worryingly for the government and those reaching retirement, only 14% regret not paying enough into their pension, a drop of 23% on 2010 (37%). With current inflation at 4.8% eroding the value of pension pots, savers should be taking measures to save more or expect living off less when they retire.

Interestingly however, there is less regret about spending money on big ticket items such as a new car - down from 9% to 3%. Love also, is apparently not an issue with just 2% regretting splurging on an expensive wedding; a 2% reduction from 2010.

Bruno Genovese, Head of Savings at First Direct, said that financial planning is key: "Good organisation and long term planning can help you pay off debts more quickly, increasing disposable income for saving and allowing your money to work for you more effectively."

"January is the perfect time to get your finances in order and start 2012 as you mean to go on. The earlier people start to plan their finances and look to the future, the better their long term financial position will be."

First Direct statistics:

Biggest Financial Regrets 2011 versus 2010:

Areas of finances Britons are most unhappy with 2011 versus 2010: