Survey Says … Americans Share Their Money Victories and Fails

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good bad moneyWe’ve all had those “face-palm” money moments, and the luckiest among us have had a few “cha-ching!” financial successes, as well. Have you ever wondered where you stack up when it comes to money luck?

Money Magazine surveyed 1,000 people about the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of their financial lives. Here’s what they came up with:

The biggest chunk of people surveyed—28%—revealed that racking up debt was their biggest financial mistake. 13% regret not saving for retirement earlier in life, and 8% missed an opportunity to make some serious dough. A surprising 16%, however, claim that they’ve never made a big financial blunder. (How fortunate!)

When asked about their biggest financial successes, people kept it simple: Living within their means, being debt-free and having a well-paying job were the top three victories. Nary a stock picker or lottery winner in sight.

What would they do if they did win the Powerball? Use the money wisely, they claimed: 22% would sink a significant chunk into retirement accounts, and 20% would pay off their mortgages. A very honest 5% would splurge on a big purchase.

Respondents seemed like they were in need of a nice windfall: 31% said that earning too little was the greatest obstacle on the way to financial security. 16% named debt as the culprit, and 12% said they had too many current expenses.

With that kind of money stress, you can’t blame people for taking part in a little digital escapism. However, when respondents were asked whether they check their bank balance or social media more, 47% claimed they are on their online banking app more often than Twitter or Facebook. 17% said they check both equally. As long as you’re following a few personal finance sites, that probably isn’t a bad thing.