Perspective

From 401(k) cash outs to overspending, Americans have money regrets

When asked what their biggest regret is when it comes to money, participants in a new survey certainly didn’t hold back. From dipping into retirement plan savings to frivolous spending, people say there are many things they wish they’d done differently.

From the CNBC and Acorns Invest in You Savings Survey, here’s a look at some of Americans’ biggest financial fouls they wish they could do over.

The survey, conducted for CNBC by SurveyMonkey in March, polled more than 2,300 adults about various aspects of financial wellness.


“I didn’t start saving early enough in life.”

Hindsight may be 20/20, but Aesop’s fable of “The Grasshopper and the Ant” has been around for centuries. Most of us are taught the importance of saving from an early age. Alas, forewarned is not always forearmed, and many people approaching retirement look back regretfully – with emptier pockets than they’d like – at their spendthrift 20s, 30s and even 40s or beyond. This was one of the most common regrets supplied by survey respondents.

Neglect to start saving early and you’ll miss out on the power of compound interest, the ability to cover emergencies without going bankrupt and increased peace of mind. In fact, you’ll likely rack up many of the following regrets cited by survey respondents.


“Gym memberships I don’t use and other unnecessary subscriptions.”

Fitness centers are packed each January as people act on their New Year’s resolutions and sign up for new gym memberships. But come spring, there are usually plenty of spaces in the gym parking lot. Are you really making good use of that $50 a month membership? Many survey repondents say “no.”

A similar phenomenon is the plethora of online and subscription TV memberships that people purchase today. Ask yourself: “Do I really need not only a premium cable-TV package but Netflix, Hulu, YouTube Premium and HBO Now subscriptions, as well?” Smartphone app services are another area where people subscribe to what seems like a good deal but which eventually adds up and goes underused, from razor- or perfume-of-the-month clubs to grocery delivery or media outlet memberships.

Read the full story at CNBC.
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