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February 01, 2013 05:12 ET

Brits Had Fewer Financial Regrets in 2012

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Feb. 1, 2013) - Brits were happier with their finances in 2012 than the previous year, reveals first direct's third annual "Financial Regrets" survey. Despite falling disposal income, the results show that 60% of Britons were happy with their finances in 2012, an increase of eight per cent on 2011 (52%), and almost bouncing back to the levels of happiness seen in 2010 (64%).

For those who did have misgivings about their finances in 2012, not saving enough was their biggest regret; almost a third (32%) of those surveyed stated that their greatest financial misstep last year was not putting enough money away. However, while this remains the nation's biggest financial regret, the figures show a reduction of a fifth on the previous year (52%). Not paying off debt was the second most common regret in 2012, with almost a quarter of Britons (23%) wishing they had paid back more, compared to a third in 2011 (33%). Seven per cent regret not paying enough into their pension, a drop of 6% on 2011 (13%) and concluding the top 5, was not buying a property and not taking a home mortgage (4% versus 7% in 2011).

Top 5 Financial Regrets over past 3 years

2012 2011 2010
1 Not saving enough 32% Not saving enough 52% Not paying off more of my debts 53%
2 Not paying off more of my debts 23% Not paying off more of my debts 33% Not paying into a pension 37%
3 Not paying in to a pension 7% Not paying into a pension 13% Spending too much on run up to Christmas and gifts 18%
4 Spending too much on a partner 4% Not buying a property and renting rather than buying 12% Staying in a rented property too long 14%
5 Not buying a property 4% Spending too much money on a partner 7% Spending too much money on a partner 14%

Interestingly almost 60% of those living in the North East said they had no financial regrets in 2012 versus just over 35% in London. In Wales just over a quarter regretted not paying off debt and not saving enough (26%). And in Yorkshire 6% felt they'd spent too much on their partner, 2% more than the average.

Nearly half of men said they had no financial regrets in 2012 versus just over two-fifths of women; however both genders ranked not saving enough at the top of their list of financial regrets in 2012.

Andy Forbes, Head of Product at first direct commented:

"Against a backdrop of inflation running higher than average wage increases, it's great to hear that people are positive about their finances and have fewer financial regrets. It seems that they are focussing on reducing their debt and increasing their savings.

"It's always a good idea to plan ahead, as good organisation can help pay off debts more quickly and increase disposable income to help save for all those little treats."

Notes to Editors

The survey was carried out by Opinion Matters between the 4th and 18th January 2013 for first direct and questioned 2002 people aged 16 and over. Full survey results are available on request.

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first direct provides both telephone banking and online banking services to its 1.2m customers. It offers a full range of personal banking products including its award winning Current Account and offset mortgages.

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