The majority of those over the age of 50 in Britain believe that the American writer Mark Twain was right when he said, “Twenty years later you will regret things you did not do more than those you did.” This statement is confirmed by a recent study conducted by “Fiftylife”, a life insurance company in Britain, that raised the traditional question: “Is it better to regret what you did or what you did not do?”
The result is that 65 percent (two-thirds) of participants, who were more than 2,000 people over the age of 50, say that missed opportunities and playing it safe lead to regret more than failure in in what we do.
The study is part of a research on lessons that people with long experience can give younger generations.
If young people who are at the age of 20 put new homes at the top of their dreams, more than one-third of those over the age of 50 wish they had traveled more in their lives, a quarter wish they could take more risks, and another quarter regret that they have not chosen a different career.
Another quarter of the study’s participants regret that they did not break a difficult relationship early, while 23 percent wish that they could have told their parents that they loved them when they were still alive.
Pursuant to their life experiences, participants advise young generations that the best achievement for them is to raise happy and healthy children. This is the opinion of two-thirds and is followed by choosing life partner with 58 percent.
Money, job and other physical objects come in levels far below family relations and health. 1 of 10 participants sees that getting a good job is one of the greatest achievements in life, while 3 out of 10 believe that money can bring happiness.
One of the most valuable advice given by those over the age of 50 to those in their early twenties is to start saving money from now for retirement. One-third of participants wish they could have made more money for retirement and could have made more prudent financial decisions. A quarter of them feel satisfied with themselves because they avoided extravagance in order to save money.
More than one third of participants feel satisfied that they have deprived themselves of many things to spend on their families.
“The message of those over the age of 50 to the younger generation is clear. They should make use of all available means of life and take the opportunity to realize their dreams, even if they have to make difficult decisions. A key reason for happiness is that family is still the top priority of people,” says Matthew Gledhill, director of the insurance company.