Not saving for retirement tops Americans' greatest regrets

  • Nearly 3 in 4 adults have financial regrets, according to Bankrate.com.
  • The most common is not saving for retirement, followed by not stashing enough in an emergency fund and taking on too much credit card debt.

They say hindsight is 20/20 — and that's particularly true when it comes to retirement saving.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans have financial regrets, according to a recent report by Bankrate.com. The No. 1 regret? Not saving for retirement sooner, followed by not stashing enough in an emergency fund and taking on too much credit card debt. Bankrate polled over 1,000 U.S. adults in early May.

When broken down by generation, retirement fears plagued baby boomers the most while older millennials, aged 27 to 36 years old, said taking on too much student loan debt was their greatest mistake.

Older Americans have become steadily more pessimistic about their own future economic prospects, according to a separate study by United Income, a startup that aims to apply big-data analysis to financial planning.

"I've never met a person who regretted saving money," said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com's senior economic analyst. But "no matter what level of wealth someone has, it requires a certain amount of discipline," he added.

For those who are ready to tighten their purse strings, Hamrick recommends a self-assessment to figure out whether there are areas to cut back – "the result of that, with any luck, is a more successful program of saving."

More from Your Money Your Future:
Survive your boomerang kids without depleting your retirement savings
Frugal retirees ditch 4 percent rule, hoard savings instead
3 Social Security surprises that may leave money on the table

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