Men most regret not investing—but women have a very different No. 1 money regret

This couple is trying to pay off $600,000 of student loans in 5 years
This couple is trying to pay off $600,000 of student loans in 5 years

Add financial regrets to the list of things separating men from women.

While the genders do have plenty in common, they differ on how they wish they had spent their money. That's according to a recent survey by financial website GOBankingRates, which asked more than 5,000 U.S. adults to identify their biggest financial regret in 2017.

The participants were asked to choose among the following: "falling into debt," "living above my means," "not investing in the stock market," "not saving enough money," "paying for college," "spending money on non-essentials" or "other."

Men's biggest money regret was not investing: Nearly 15 percent chose that option versus about 9 percent of women. Interestingly, men are more likely than women to fear losing money in the stock market, according to another survey.

For women, the top money regret was not saving enough: a plurality, or 41 percent, chose that option, versus 33 percent of men. The survey also found a higher percentage of women than men have less than $1,000 in a savings account: 62 percent versus 52 percent, respectively.

And 36 percent of women, compared to 33 percent of men, have nothing saved for retirement.

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The smartest and dumbest things to do with your end-of-year bonus

Not saving enough money falls in line with Americans' top money regret. Overall, 36 percent of respondents called this their biggest regret.

One-third of Americans have nothing saved for retirement, a previous GOBankingRates survey found. And 39 percent have nothing in a savings account whatsoever.

The second biggest fear among Americans was spending on non-essentials, with 23 percent of respondents choosing that option. A survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that every age group, gender and income bracket say they waste too much money on dining out and other discretionary purchases.

When it comes to investing, 11 percent of respondents said they regret not getting involved with stocks; 8 percent chose paying for college as their biggest regret; and 7 percent chose living above their means.

The survey also gauged millennials' financial regrets versus those of older generations. "Not saving enough money" was the biggest regret among adults 45 and older. Perhaps because they're closer to retirement age and have less time to save or are already in retirement and wish they'd done more to build up their savings, the survey notes.

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The definitive guide to retirement savings plans

For young adults, "not saving enough money" and "spending money on non-essentials" were the top two regrets, followed by "paying for college." More than 44 million Americans have taken out student loans to pay for school, and their debt now totals $1.4 trillion.

That makes for a particular burden for young people: The average college debt for 20-year-olds is $22,135. For 30-year-olds, it's $34,033.

There is room for optimism, though, whether you're saving for college or another goal. A survey of more than 1,000 Americans found young people are better at managing money, in terms of goal-setting and financial engagement, than Baby Boomers.

And as Terri Kallsen, executive vice president and head of Schwab Investor Services, said, being aware of how you manage your money is a good way to begin achieving financial goals.

"It doesn't matter whether you have a lot or a little — what matters is that you think about the money you have as your wealth, and that you pay attention to it."

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Don't miss: Younger people are actually better with money than Boomers and Generation X

Video by Brandon Ancil

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