Financial unhappiness increased in 2011

We didn't save enough in 2011 and we didn't pay off more debt. That's the depressing conclusion of the vast majority of those questioned in First Direct's annual survey on biggest financial regrets in 2011. 87% of those questioned claimed they didn't take advantage of tax-free saving plans and 82% regretted credit card and loan debt. But were we financially more happy overall?

Few regrets on big ticket items

Er, no. Worryingly for the government, just 14% regretted not paying enough into their pension, a massive drop of 23% on 2010 (37%). Oddly, there doesn't seem much regret about buying big ticket items. Just 3% of us regretted buying a new car (clearly the 97% who did snap up a new vehicle remain delighted that they did so).

Compared to 2010 just 6% regret spending money on an expensive holiday. And when it comes to affairs of the heart, money isn't an issue: just 2% regretted lashing out on an expensive wedding, a 2% reduction on 2010.

Hope for 2012?

The research - carried out in late November with 1260 adults questioned - revealed too a sharp division in financial happiness between the generations. Over 55s have the fewest financial regrets with 57% saying they did not have any financial regrets in 2011. But a sizeable 44% of over 55s claimed they were 'happy' with their general spending compared to 57% last year. That's a big drop.

"January is the perfect time to get your finances in order and start 2012 as you mean to go on," said Bruno Genovese, head of savings at First Direct. "The earlier people start to plan their finances and look to the future, the better their long term financial position will be."

First Direct statistics

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