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Research and Statistics

Credit card debt is Americans’ biggest financial regret, study shows

A new survey shows card debt is our biggest source of financial remorse, but nearly a third say paying off debt is their top goal in 2020


In a new survey by Policygenius, 24% of respondents indicated card debt is their biggest financial regret over the last decade, and another 15% put student loan debt atop their list. But the most identified financial resolution for 2020 is paying down debt, reported by about a third of adults.

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Ask Americans what their greatest financial regret is over the last decade and heading the list is the accumulation of credit card debt, with almost 1 in 4 adults saying it is their No.1 regret.

The data come from a recent survey by Policygenius, which also asked about top financial goals for the coming year. With 24% of respondents indicating card debt is their biggest regret, and another 15% putting student loan debt atop their list (ranking No. 4), it makes sense that the most identified financial resolution for 2020 is paying down debt, reported by about a third of surveyed adults (32%).

See related: Americans resolve to boost their credit scores in 2020, study shows

Ranking behind their remorse for accumulating card debt was Americans’ regret at not establishing more emergency savings (19%) and delaying the start of retirement savings (16%).

To those ends, 2020 resolutions that centered on keeping and saving more of their money dominated the second, third and fourth ranks for next year’s financial goals. About a fifth of U.S. adults (21%) resolve to earn more and spend less, 14% aim to establish an adequate emergency fund and another 14% plan to save for retirement.

Policygenius’ survey was based on responses from a nationally representative group of 1,514 U.S. adults age 18 and older. Conducted through Google Consumer Surveys in mid-December, the results were released Dec. 18.

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