Regrets, they have a few.

According to TD Ameritrade, 56% of Americans said they would have managed their money different if they could go back to the time before the recession of 2008 to 2009.

In retrospect, 71% said they would have spent less and saved more, 65% said they would have lived within their means, and 60% said they would have taken more personal responsibility for managing their money

Survey participants also admitted they relied on credit cards frequently and allowed their debts to mount, with 60% reporting if they could go back in time they would have paid down debt and 50% would have paid for purchases in cash instead of credit cards.

“Americans seem to have been taken off-guard financially with the downturn of the economy. And while it has been a tough lesson to learn, it’s a promising sign that we’re acknowledging what went wrong, particularly as we approach a new year,” said Stuart Rubinstein, a managing director of client engagement at TD Ameritrade. “The recession can be considered a teachable moment that served as an eye-opening catalyst for change in terms of financial preparedness, and the research suggests it’s turning out to be just that.”

The survey of 1,088 individuals, which was conducted in September and October, indicated that many were forced to delay “big ticket expenditures and alter their savings habits” over the past three years: 36% said they delayed travel, 25% delayed buying a car, 25% delayed paying down debt, 21% delayed saving and investing in general, and 17% delayed saving and investing for retirement

Forty-four percent said that it could be one to three years before they could pursue the things they put off during the recession.

“While delaying larger discretionary expenditures, such as travel or a new car, may make financial sense during challenging times, long-term savings should remain a priority,” Rubinstein said. “Even if you are saving smaller amounts, that’s better than not saving at all. The key is to stay focused on your goals and continue to act on that which is still within your control.”


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