Over-50s regret not saving enough

Have you put enough away?

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The number one financial regret for the over-50s is not putting enough away for their retirement, according to an international survey.

More than a third of those polled by the deVere Group said it was their biggest mistake - showing a "depressing predictability", says founder and chief executive Nigel Green.

"The harsh reality is that unless there's a seismic cultural shift in attitudes towards savings, many more people will reach the age of retirement and realise that there is just not enough in their pension pots to last throughout their retirement, or enough to enable them to enjoy the retirement they had envisaged," he says.

"Putting money aside for later in life has never been more important. This is because life expectancy is increasing, meaning the funds have to last perhaps two decades longer than even a generation ago; living, care and medical costs will, naturally, all increase over time; interest rates and annuities are at rock bottom; and it is highly improbable that the state will be able to financially support retirees in the future as it has done previously."

The next biggest regret, the survey found, was believing that they could successfully manage their financial affairs without professional advice, cited by 27%, and one in five said it was letting emotions rule over investment decisions.

"If your primary aim is to secure the best returns, investment decisions should be rational and dispassionate," says Green. "Pride and bias can cloud judgement and this is, again, another reason why working with an independent expert is beneficial."

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Meanwhile, more than one in ten cited a lack of diversification in their portfolios as their biggest financial mistake, and 7% said it was a lack of adequate insurance.

"History teaches us that risk is reduced through diversification. A properly diversified portfolio should provide exposure to each stage of the economic cycle while avoiding over-commitment," says Green.

According to a Saga survey in September, more and more people are continuing to work into their 50s and beyond - and 44% of those say it's for financial reasons.

"Over recent years, many people approaching retirement have found that their pensions have simply failed to keep up with expectations," says Saga's director of communications Paul Green. "Some need to carry on working just to make ends meet, let alone live the retirement they had dreamed of."

The situation may be made worse by the government's new pension rules that allow older people to withdraw cash from their pension pot with a far lower tax burden than before. It's been estimated that as many as 200,000 people plan to take out the whole amount, and that many could end up in financial hardship as a result.

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