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20 savings mistakes people make

Broken piggy bank
  • Make it less convenient to transfer money from savings to checking.
  • Maximize the pension payout for a single life and buy life insurance.
  • A little goes a long way when you start young. Invest in your 20s.

It's less costly when we learn from other people's mistakes than if we have to learn them the hard way. We asked Bankrate's newsletter subscribers if they had any regrets related to saving for retirement. Below are their responses. Some wish they could go back to their 20s and reset the "save" button. Others regret making particular investments. Still others would not spend so much. But one person wishes she had spent more and invested less. ...

As you read about the experiences of these people who were gracious enough to share their wisdom, see if there are any lessons you can learn so that you can avoid having retirement regrets.

1. Make transfers inconvenient

Pay yourself first. So simple, but our problem was always dipping into the savings for various emergencies. I think if about twice a year we had moved the automatic savings money into another account that was not as easy to use for transferring money to the checking account, we would have thought twice about using that money as often. When we look at what that simple $50 per month would be at this point in our lives, we kick ourselves for not being more disciplined.
-- Name withheld

2. Tithe thyself

I would have saved 10 percent automatically from my paycheck by direct deposit into a savings account earning the best possible interest compounded daily. I would have also disciplined myself to deposit 10 percent of any additional money from gifts, refunds or other earned income.

I would have bought a small house outright with the money I had saved (instead of renting an apartment for over 30 years).

I would have found a job that I loved and devoted my life to it. At least you could be happy even if you were not where you wanted to be financially.

Hope this helps someone out there.
-- D. Lorinser

3. Redo the pension payout

At retirement my husband and I arranged that when we passed away, the spouse would receive the same pension.

This reduced our pension amounts. We should have taken the (single life) maximum and, after calculating how that raised our monthly pensions, we should have used the extra money for life insurance purchases to benefit the spouse instead.
-- Name withheld

4. Aye for I bonds

I (started) to buy I bonds in 2000. In hindsight, I should have started buying them in 1998 when they first became available. But no complaints, I bought them to the maximum allowable for my wife and I for seven years. They're the safest and best investment that I've ever made.
-- Andy Greenstein

5. Save for a rainy day

(I regret) not saving a certain percentage for a rainy day. Put it away and don't look at it.

If I knew then, what I know now, at age 66, I would be extremely wealthy. Should have definitely taken (my) parent's advice, but can't cry over spilled milk.
-- Name withheld



6. Waited too long

I regret not starting an IRA when in my 20s. If I could do it over again, I would have 10 percent of my income automatically taken out of my pay and have it invested. The interest is enticing but the compounding of interest over one's working years would make for a very, very comfortable retirement. Hakuna matata!
-- Blair Packer, Tyrone, Pa.


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