Over a third wish they had started saving at a younger age

25 Jul, 2022

A survey of 2,000 UK adults was conducted by WEALTH at work, a leading financial wellbeing and retirement specialist. It asked people if there was anything they wish they had done differently when it comes to their finances, and what they wish they had known.

It revealed that over a third (37%) of UK adults wish they had started saving or investing at a younger age and almost a quarter (24%) wish they had been more careful when it came to spending money rather than spending frivolously.

A fifth (21%) wish they had set aside more money for emergencies and nearly a fifth (18%) wish they had been taught about the benefits of saving when they were younger. Nearly a fifth (18%) wish they hadn’t got into debt, and 17% wish they had researched or been taught about the importance of budgeting and how to manage money when they were younger.

However, 29% don’t wish they had done anything differently.

When asked about where people learn about financial matters such as managing a monthly budget, debt and managing savings, the most popular ways include through friends or relatives (35%), by searching online (32%), through TV programmes (18%) and through formal education including school, college or University (17%).

Nearly a fifth (17%) have never learnt about financial matters.

Just under half (49%) of working UK adults are not provided with any support from their employers on how to understand their finances. Only one in ten (12%) say their employer puts on financial education seminars or webinars, and only one in ten (12%) say their employer provides access to a regulated financial adviser.

Jonathan Watts-Lay, Director, WEALTH at work, comments; “It can be easy with hindsight to look at the financial decisions made in your life and wish that you had done things differently. But many people lack the knowledge to understand their finances as they’ve never been taught about it, or rely on information from their friends or relatives who are unlikely to be financial gurus.”

He continues; “Understanding how to budget, the importance of saving, and how mortgages, debt and pensions work, are crucial life skills. Our research shows that unfortunately, many people have never learnt about financial matters and whilst some workplaces offer support, there is still some way to go.  It therefore isn’t surprising that so many people have regrets about not starting to save earlier and getting into debt.”

Watts-Lay comments; “If you are lucky enough to have a forward-thinking employer who provides financial education and guidance for their employees, make sure you access it as it can prove crucial especially during these current times when household finances are stretched. Even if they don’t, it’s always worth asking them to consider what they can do to help, as they may not realise this is something that people want.”

He concludes; “Alternatively, debt charities such as Stepchange and National Debtline can help people to with serious debt problems. Also, Citizens Advice can help you to work out what benefits or grants you may be eligible for and there are many budgeting tools available online to help such as MoneyHelper’s budget planner.”