Which financial decisions do you regret most?

Published May 12th, 2015 - 03:30 GMT

Everyone makes all kinds of mistakes in life, but there are at least two that occur frequently and most people in the UAE can relate to.

A specialist insurer, Partnership, has recently done a research to find out what people felt their biggest financial mistakes had been.  The answer they got was unanimous: failing to save and getting divorced.

Up to two thirds (61 per cent) of those surveyed felt that not saving enough money was their biggest failure – either generally (36 per cent) or into their pension (25 per cent). Getting married and later divorcing was seen as the next biggest financial mistake anyone could make.

Those that have the biggest regret about not saving are mostly pre-retirees (46 per cent are 40 to 50 years old). The findings only suggest that as people move closer to retirement, saving into their pension “becomes a pressing reality.”

“They focus more on the need to put aside money into their pension rather than general savings,” Partnership said.

“This research suggests that not only do people need to work hard to put aside money while they are working but also need to carefully consider how they intend to use this money when they eventually retire,” said Andrew Megson, managing director of retirement at Partnership.

Megson said that with one in ten people considering getting married and then divorcing as their biggest financial mistake, people will do well to be as prudent as possible in all areas of their life – including relationships.

“While everyone makes mistakes in life – it appears that the two most common financial regrets relate to people taking no action at all rather than making an error because they took a huge gamble,” Megson said.

Although the survey was conducted in the UK, several studies have shown that the situation is no different for most people in the UAE, where there is no state pension scheme and many residents are weighed down by other financial obligations.

According to National Bonds’ survey released this month, only 36 per cent of residents in the country are able to save for retirement.

Mohammed Qasim Al Ali, CEO of National Bonds, said people understand that they need to set aside for their future, but only a few are saving religiously. “The willpower to take decisive action is still way below the intent. Retirement is a major area of concern for expatriates but planning for a good life after retirement is still lacking,” said Al Ali.

National Bonds’ savings index showed that the majority of Arab expatriates (88 per cent) feel their current savings won’t be enough to support them in the future. The other residents, 71 per cent Asian and 78 per cent Western expatriates, share the same view.

“The results indicate that it is not the lack of awareness that is keeping expats from putting together a regular saving for the future. I believe that most people are too involved with managing and meeting their short-term financial commitments,” Al Ali said.

By Cleofe Maceda

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