A survey by Bankrate.com finds that an overwhelming majority of Americans have a financial regret. Of those regrets, 56% said they were disappointed with their savings. 27% wish they had started saving earlier for retirement, 19% are upset they don't have enough for emergencies and 10% say they have not saved enough for their child's education.

Debt from credit cars, student loans and mortgages is a leading reason why people have such a hard time saving money.

Ken Kamen, of Mercadien Asset Management in Princeton, said the best way to save money is not having it in someone's hands to start. Having a payroll deduction made from a weekly or bi-weekly paycheck into a 401(k) or a savings plan would be the best way to start saving, he said.

Kamen said a good benchmark changes with age and changes with how much you've been able to save. A 25-year-old who can put away 10% of their salary a year could be well on their way to having a good future, he said. If that 25-year-old can then increase that 10% by 1% a year until at least 35 years old, then hopefully he or she can start saving 20% a year thereafter. If that's the case, Kamen feels that person would be golden going into the golden years.

But he warned that someone who is older who has not been saving is going to have to etch that percentage number up in order to play catch-up.

Kamen thinks it's important for people to have an emergency fund. Whether that fund is $2,000 or $10,000 is going to depend on whether a person owns a home, has a new or old ca, for example.

"But a good rule of thumb is to have at least $5,000 in an emergency fund, if you can do it," said Kamen.

The Bankrate.com survey found that of those with financial regret, 50% say they are already addressing it, 12% plan to address it in the next six months but 21% have no plans.

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