There are financial mistakes and there are financial mistakes. Some have a short-term cost. Others have a more devastatingly long-term impact.
When Millionaire Corner recently asked affluent investors what they regarded to be their biggest financial mistake, the primary response was not about an investment gone bad or not getting in the ground floor of a startup company that later became a phenomenal success.
It was “not saving enough for retirement.”
Across wealth levels surveyed, nearly one-third of households with a net worth of less than $100,000 said they consider not having enough saved for their senior years to be their biggest financial mistake. The percentage decreases with wealth.
Not surprisingly, more women than men share this regret (19 percent vs. 16 percent). the distinct realities women encounter when saving and preparing for retirement. Studies have found that women, who do not earn as much as men and therefore contribute less to their 401(k)s, are less prepared for retirement.
Also not surprising: baby boomers ages 41-50 and 51-60 said that not saving enough for retirement is their biggest financial mistake (23 percent and 22.5 percent, respectively).
With age may come wisdom. It certainly seems to bring a sense of reconciliation. Half of respondents over the age of 60 said they do not make any financial mistakes. This decreased with age, with just 20 percent of those under 40 making the same claim.
Millennials and Gen Xers were also more likely to say that their biggest financial mistake was having too much credit card debt. According to a Bankrate.com study released earlier this year, Millennials have accrued more credit card debt than movey saved for a rainy day compared to baby boomers.
These age groups, who have grown up in an age of technologically enabled instant gratification, were also the most likely to list spending too much on material goods as their biggest financial mistake (14 percent vs. 7 percent of respondents overall).
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.