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Top 5 financial regrets

25 September 2017

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Money & Life team

Money & Life contributors draw on their diverse range of experience to present you with insights and guidance that will help you manage your financial wellbeing, achieve your lifestyle goals and plan for your financial future.

We all make bad decisions about money from time to time. But what if you could avoid future financial errors by learning what others have done and wish they hadn’t? In our Live the Dream survey we asked Aussies for their top financial regrets so you can learn from their mistakes.

1. Not saving enough

More than one in three people surveyed wish they’d saved more.

A strong saving habit is one of the fundamentals of good money management. Just ask a financial planner and they’re likely to tell you that sticking to a budget is top of the list when it comes to setting yourself up for financial success. So if you’re not the greatest at saving, it might be time to change your ways. To be an effective saver you need to set some clear goals to motivate you and come up with a budget to stick to so you’ll have enough to put aside at the end of the week or month.

2. Not studying enough

Almost a quarter of people surveyed regret not studying more  

While it’s not strictly speaking a financial goal, not taking the time to study or studying more is a major regret for 22% of Australians. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, getting an education after leaving school can boost your average full-time weekly earnings by $813 if you’re a man, and $504 if you’re woman1. So while you might be motivated to study because of a keen interest in marine life or artificial intelligence, chances are you’re going to be better off financially too.

3. Poor financial planning

More than 1 in 5 Australians say poor financial planning is their greatest financial regret

Whether you decide to seek advice for your financial future or not, actually having a plan in the first place is the important thing. Leaving your financial future to chance and trusting to luck to take care of your needs is one of the mindsets that can sabotage your financial wellbeing. By taking the time to map out your goals – for your lifestyle and finances – and consider whether your income is enough to help you meet these goals, you can start prioritising how you spend money now and save or invest it for the future.  

4. Not investing enough

19% of Australians wish they’d invested more

 The importance of saving might be one of the strongest messages from our Live the Dream report. But investing money is something else many Aussies wish they’d done more of. If you’re prepared to be patient and understand the risks involved, investing money can be a good way to set up an extra income stream so you don’t have to rely on a salary as the only way to grow your wealth. If you’re new to investing, there are lots of options to consider so it’s important to make sure you understand the pros and cons of different asset classes and products, such as managed funds.

5. Investing in the wrong things

1 in 10 Australians regret investing in the wrong things

While investing does have the potential for prepare you for a better financial future, a fair number of Australians have had negative experiences thanks to poor investment decisions. Of course investing is never going to be surefire way to get wealthy. But you’re more likely to stay ahead financially when you know what you want to get from your investments and educate yourself about the risks and rewards of different investment approaches and strategies. A financial planner can help you  match your personal and financial goals to investments with a suitable timeframe and risk/return profile to make sure you get the most from your money.

Whatever mistakes you’ve made with money in the past, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional can offer valuable advice on making positive choices for a more secure financial future.

 

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4235.0 – Qualifications and Work, Australia, 2015, Released 22 June 2016, “Men working full-time, who held two or more non-school qualifications, earned on average $813 per week more than their full-time working counterparts without a non-school qualification. Similarly, full-time employed females with multiple non-school qualifications earned an average $504 per week more than those working full-time without a non-school qualification” http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4235.0