It found that we spend longer deciding whether to get divorced (15 months) than when to retire (13 months). We also spend more time deciding to have children (12 months), than we do preparing financially (10 months) for them.
On average, women spend more time planning, preparing financially and making big decisions. They spend nine months actively planning to buy their own home, compared to six months for men, and they actively plan divorce for nearly a year, compared to nine months for men.
Regrets, we have a few
No surprises then, that when it comes to financial regrets, it seems we have a few. The main one being that we feel we have failed to save enough. That’s the biggest regret of as many as three in five of us (60%).
Probably as a result, one third of Brits say they feel financially unprepared for the decisions they will have to make in the future. Almost half (45%) feel as though they’re not saving enough and more than a fifth feel as though they have left it too late to save (22%).
More than two in five (41%) of those who have not yet sought financial advice believe that doing so would have no impact at all on their lives, and even more say the same about writing a will (56%). Worryingly, over a third (36%) say the same about saving into a pension.
But for some, it’s just all too much. As many as 16% of those surveyed said they are so crippled by the fear of the unknown that they simply do nothing at all.
Don’t bury your head in the sand
The way to avoid financial regrets is to face facts – and plan ahead.
Generally, the longer the time frame you have, the easier and cheaper it is to make your money grow and, most importantly, the harder you can get your money working for you.
For something like buying a property, saving for your child’s education and planning for your retirement, you have a decent timeframe to deal with, which makes it easier to save without the sacrifice.
Make sure you use your annual ISA allowance and make regular savings part of your plan. This enables you to drip feed money into the stock market, which means you can save more modest amounts as well as get the benefits of pound/cost averaging, so you buy more shares when the markets are down. The longer you have, the better off you will be because you also benefit from the power of compounding, which is when your money really works hardest for you.
With the Fidelity ISA you can save as little as £50 a month and choose where and how you invest with our Select 50 range of specially-selected funds.
And in these situations consider investing in the stock market. While it’s good to have some cash to hand, so you have financial security and resources to fall back on in an emergency, overall, investing in the stock market will get your money working harder for you.
Be ready for whatever life throws at you
While you might not be able to diarise with accuracy every potential financial event, keeping your eye on your long-term goals and making sure you plan ahead is a good way to make sure you can cope with whatever life throws at you.
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The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount invested. Eligibility to invest into an ISA and the value of tax savings depends on personal circumstances and all tax rules may change. The Select 50 is not a recommendation to buy or sell a fund. This information does not constitute investment advice and should not be used as the basis for any investment decision nor should it be treated as a recommendation for any investment. Fidelity Personal Investing does not give personal recommendations. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment, you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.