Saving for retirement should be a priority, even for those...

Saving for retirement should be a priority, even for those just starting to work, experts say Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / outline205

Nearly three out of four U.S. adults have financial regrets, according to a new survey from

What would people do differently?

The most common regret was not saving for retirement early enough, followed by not saving enough for emergency expenses and taking on too much credit card debt. The survey of 1,001 adults was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

What can you do now to avoid future regrets?

Run your own race

“Give up trying to keep up with the Joneses. Know your limits based on your income, constraints, and budget based on your long-term financial plan — then live below your means to enable saving and investing for your goals,” says Derek Brainard, a financial literacy coordinator with Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.

Control what you can

Break goals into achievable daily and monthly tasks. “Don’t waste too much time or energy on things outside of your control. Get the big things right like avoiding debt, saving for retirement and large purchases, and having an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses in the bank,” says Brainard.

Pay yourself first

“Saving for retirement might seem like a remote notion, particularly for young people,” says Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for “But if it is a question of cutting back on spending now versus being forced to downgrade lifestyle later in life because of a lack of retirement savings, I know which one I’d opt for: The early start on more aggressive retirement savings.”

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