Everyone makes mistakes, of course. Now, a vast majority of Americans in a new survey acknowledge that they have made mistakes with their finances over the past 10 years.
DepositAccounts.com, a LendingTree company, reported this week that 85% of survey respondents admitted to having made a mistake in their finances, while 15% insisted that they had not done so over the past decade.
Qualtrics conducted an online survey in mid-December of 1,069 Americans across four generations: younger and older millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers.
Running up credit card debt topped the list of the worst financial mistakes of the past decade, cited by 23% of respondents. Sixteen percent each admitted to spending beyond their means and not saving enough for retirement, and 8% to not paying bills on time.
All generations pleaded guilty to accumulating too much credit card debt. However, boomers expressed the most regret about financial mistakes, with 26% remorseful that they had not saved enough for retirement. Seventeen percent of Gen Xers admitted they were in the same boat.
A recent study found that running out of money in retirement was the main concern of American pre-retirees.
Twenty-three percent of older millennials in the DepostAccounts.com survey and 19% of younger ones said their biggest mistake over the past 10 years, after racking up credit debt, was living beyond their means.
Mistakes aside, Americans in the survey also reported some big financial wins since 2010:
- Paying off credit card debt — 15%
- Buying a car — 13%
- Paying off other debt — 11%
- Buying a house — 10%
- Getting a raise or promotion at work — 10%
- Increasing retirement savings — 10%
The survey found that millennials in particular saw buying a car as their biggest financial accomplishment of the decade. For Gen Xers and boomers, it was paying off credit card debt.
Overall, 49% of respondents said they were financially better off now than 10 years ago, including 60% of younger millennials, 54% of older millennials, 45% of Gen Xers and 41% of baby boomers.
In addition, 54% of men reported that they were better off now than a decade ago, compared with 44% of women who said this.
Respondents cited various reasons for finding themselves in better financial condition, including that they were making more money, had more savings, were strapped with less debt and were budgeting better.
At the same time, about one in three respondents said they were better off in 2010 than they are today, including nearly two in five boomers. Thirty-five percent said this was because of making less money today, and 21% said they had increased their debt.
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