“If only I had saved more” is Europeans’ key regret, says Schroders study

Peripheral European countries and France have moved to raise their mandated retirement ages, but one fifth of all Europeans are doing the same thing informally, by postponing their own retirement – and they regret not saving earlier in life to avoid this, according to Schroders.

In survey of 1,400 Europeans by the British asset manager in September, 40% of respondents said the most important financial advice they would give children would be: start saving as early as possible.

This was the top choice for advice in the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Belgium.

Two thirds of respondents acknowledged making financial mistakes, while 25% said their main regret was not starting to invest earlier.

Only 7% remained “living for today” and said they would tell children: “spend what you’ve got while you’ve got it”.

The next most popular advice for children was to start contributing to a pension early. This ranked first in Germany (41%), Switzerland (40%) and Austria (39%).

Some 24% of all respondents said their pension pot had shrunk as a result of the crisis, and 21% said they would have to delay their retirement, and work for longer.

One fifth said their standard of living in old age would be worse than the standard their parents enjoyed.

The third piece of advice respondents would give children would be: do not borrow too much. However, the importance of this varied between Swedes, Britons and Dutch (40% each) and France and Italy (around 20%).

Half of European investors rated the Eurozone debt crisis, not surprisingly, as their main concern, then rising inflation (34%), fears about how long a recovery will take (32%), and low interest rates (29%).

Peter Beckett, head of international marketing at Schroders said: “Whilst the current economic crisis in Europe has had an immediate affect on adult investors, it is their children that face the long-term impact, whether this be in the form of funding their way through university or being responsible for their own pension arrangements.

“Despite the very challenging markets, it is encouraging that families are holding firm on the importance of saving and starting retirement planning early.”

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