The survey shows that of Americans with financial regrets, the biggest regret is a lack of emergency savings, which was noted by 23 percent of respondents. But when it comes to their biggest financial priority going forward, Americans are focused on paying down debt (22 percent), followed by saving more for emergencies (17 percent).
“At first blush, the regret about lack of emergency savings and the prioritization of debt repayment may seem at odds with each other — but not so,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst. “Consumers can actually make meaningful progress on both fronts at the same time by setting up a direct deposit from their paycheck into a dedicated savings account and earmarking more discretionary dollars toward debt repayment.”
Bankrate surveyed 1,343 American adults about their financial regrets as they relate to the coronavirus. Below are the main findings from the survey.
- Americans’ biggest financial regret about the coronavirus pandemic is lacking emergency savings, with 23 percent citing this reason.
- Americans’ top financial priority for the future is paying down debt, with 22 percent naming this goal.
- Not enough emergency savings was the top regret for every income group, but not every age group.
The biggest financial regrets since the pandemic
Americans said that their largest financial regret about the coronavirus pandemic was not having enough emergency savings, with 23 percent of Americans targeting this regret. Other top responses included not having enough retirement savings (20 percent) and having too much debt (17 percent). About 20 percent of respondents said they didn’t know their top regret.
The top financial priorities going forward
While Americans cited not enough emergency savings as their top regret, their top financial priority once the U.S. starts to recover from financial hardship doesn’t exactly match up. Instead, Americans are more focused on paying down debt, with 22 percent of respondents mentioning this goal.
Many Americans seem unprepared, and about 17 percent said they didn’t know what their top priority was. A similar number said they intended to save more for emergencies.