Almost 75% of Americans Have Financial Regrets

The biggest financial regret for most Americans? Not enough saved for retirement.

Older woman reviews her retirement savings on her smartphone.
(Image credit: Getty)

Nearly three out of four Americans have financial regrets, with failing to start saving for retirement early enough the biggest concern, according to a new survey from Bankrate.

As the struggling economy faces a potential recession amid persistent inflation, Federal Reserve hawkishness, weakened bank lending and reduced government spending, Americans are worrying about their savings, chiefly retirement.

Regrets about retirement and credit card debt top the list: According to the Bankrate survey, 74% of adults have a financial regret, with 1 in 5, or 21%, citing not starting to save for retirement early enough as their biggest regret. 

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Other standouts include having too much credit card debt (15%), not having enough saved for an emergency (14%), too much student loan debt (5%), too little saved for children's education (3%), and having purchased a home they can't afford (3%). Another 12% said they had some other key financial regret.

Regrets leaned more heavily toward overall lack of savings (41%), including retirement, emergencies and education, vs. too much debt (24%), including credit cards, student loans, or housing costs. Of those surveyed, 20% say they have no financial regrets, and 6% aren't sure what their biggest financial regrets are.

Baby boomers most concerned about not saving for retirement soon enough: Concerns about retirement savings increase with age, with younger respondents more likely to cite worries about not having enough saved for an emergency. 

Of those surveyed, 34% of baby boomers (ages 59-77) said they regret not saving for retirement soon enough, vs. 26% of Gen X (ages 43-58), 11% of millennials (ages 27-42) and 5% of Gen Z (ages 18-26)

Financial regrets correlated to higher stress levels: Having financial regrets seems to correlate with higher stress levels, with almost half of those citing a financial regret (48%) also saying their stress level has accelerated since last year, including 21% who say their stress level has increased greatly.

The survey, conducted by YouGov Plc on behalf of Bankrate in mid-June, included 3,684 U.S. adults, including 2,733 who said that they had a financial regret.

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Alexandra Twin
Senior Personal Finance Editor,

Alexandra is's senior personal finance editor. A financial news journalist with more than 20 years of experience, Alexandra has covered stock markets, the economy, wealth management and personal finance. She has previously written for CNNMoney, Institutional Investor, and Investopedia, among others. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Michigan.