Nearly 80 percent of Americans acknowledge they have made mistakes in handling their finances and the largest group says not saving enough for retirement is their biggest mistake, according to a survey by Edward Jones.
The survey released Tuesday of 1,008 Americans showed 79 percent thought they had made mistakes and 26 percent put not saving enough for retirement at the top of their list. The age group between 35 and 44 were the most likely to point to a failure in retirement savings with 38 percent listing it as their major fault.
Only 15 percent of the youngest group, those 18 to 35, expressed concerns about retirement savings and 24 percent of those over 64 had the same concern.
Of those who acknowledged making mistakes, the next largest group, 20 percent, say they do not track their spending well enough, and 13 percent say they have too much debt, such as credit card debt.
Regional and age differences were revealed among those who do not track their spending well enough. Thirty-five percent of those 18 to 35 say they do not pay enough attention to their spending habits and 25 percent of those in the Midwest agree.
Not saving enough for personal and family expenses was the biggest problem for 11 percent.
Another 8 percent of the total say they have made bad investments. On this issue, there is a large difference between the genders: 12 percent of men admit to bad investments and 5 percent of women.
Confidence in not having made any financial mistakes varies by age. Only 13 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds feel they have not made any major mistakes, while 30 percent of the 45- to 54-year-olds feel they have not. Twenty percent of those 65 and over feel they have made the right decisions.
Confidence apparently comes with planning. “We find that clients who have made the commitment to an investment program quickly gain confidence in their ability to meet their future financial goals,” says Scott Thoma, investment strategist for Edward Jones, a financial services firm for individual investors.