What decisions do people in Germany regret when it comes to their money? The investment platform WeltSparen wanted to know from 2,500 people: Which financial decisions do you see as your biggest mistakes? So that you don’t feel the same way, here are a few more expert tips.

A lack of financial knowledge and false promises rank first among financial mistakes: 14.7 percent of Germans relied on incorrect advice when investing their money. In other words, about one in seven people fell for empty promises when they received financial advice. This can include anything from trusting overly optimistic profit promises to paying higher costs than actually expected. In times of persistently low interest rates, long-term contracts in particular with high costs led to major disappointments. An example of this is endowment insurance.

Expert tip: Don’t be too gullible! In retrospect, supposed consultations often turn out to be pure sales talks. Therefore consumers should never buy financial or insurance products in a hurry. Instead, check conditions, costs and risks as precisely as possible. And ask questions if there are any ambiguities. It is also advisable to obtain further offers and compare products before signing. Constructive customer reviews also help to identify the catch in an offer.

In times of housing shortages and rapidly increasing rents, especially in metropolitan areas, many consumers regret not owning a property. 13.9 percent of Germans blame themselves for not having invested in a condominium or a house. Incidentally, the situation on the housing market is getting worse, because prices are climbing and climbing. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, existing apartments for sale were 5.1 percent more expensive than in 2021. That was determined by Immoscout25. The bitter consequence: for many, the dream of owning their own home could never come true.

Expert tip: Favorable financing conditions lead to higher real estate prices. The purchase prices in the big cities have been rising faster than the rents for years. The purchase of a property should therefore be carefully considered. In addition to building up wealth for the down payment, you also need a working strategy for paying off the mortgage loan. A central question for buyers: Should the property be used by the buyer? Or is it better to rely on permanent rental income as a secure source of income? Important: If you resell an acquired property within the first ten years, you have to pay taxes on the capital gain!

At 11.1 percent, more than one in ten admits to having played the wrong card when investing. Some investments, such as in stocks or cryptocurrencies, did not develop as desired. The current strong fluctuations in the stock market and the slump in cryptocurrencies should cause many concerns. However, the following also applies: Only 6.8 percent of those surveyed regret making a specific investment with too high a risk.

Expert tip: Fear is a bad adviser – also when it comes to investing. Especially when share prices are falling, it is important to keep a cool head. Panic selling takes revenge – because it prevents investors from benefiting from market rallies. A look at history shows that in the long term, slumps on the stock markets are always followed by periods of rising prices. Those inexperienced in equities in particular are well advised to invest long-term in widely diversified products such as ETFs (“Exchange Traded Funds”). ETFs diversify their money into many investments instead of betting on individual stocks – this makes it easier to ride out price fluctuations. Another advantage of ETFs: they only incur low costs.

If you want to invest in an ETF (Exchange Trade Fund), you need a cheap securities account. Compare Germany’s online banks and neo-brokers according to offer, price and service and then buy your first ETF.

Avoiding possible falling prices by avoiding all financial reserves is not an option. Around every tenth German citizen (10.3 percent) regrets not having accumulated any savings. Such behavior takes revenge at the latest when retirement approaches. Because the pension is always lower than the last income from work. In the worst-case scenario, anyone who can’t churn it up has to put up with poverty in old age.

Expert tip: When it comes to saving, consumers should not set themselves too high a hurdle. It does not necessarily need high monthly reserves, it is more important to put money away regularly. It is advisable to start early: If the money flows into a regular savings plan, 50 or 100 euros per month can lay the foundation for successful wealth accumulation.

For nine percent of Germans, the biggest financial mistake is their exhausted overdraft facility. What would be okay in the short term becomes a big problem in the long run: Constantly spending more than you earn and paying additional overdraft interest makes it almost impossible to build up savings.

Expert tip: In order to get out of the minus in the long term, it helps to start cutting back. A classic household book or an expenditure app can help to avoid spending in everyday life and to be more disciplined when making impulse purchases. In addition, notoriously cash-strapped contemporaries should familiarize themselves with the conditions of an overdraft facility. If the income is temporarily not enough, those affected should not take out an overdraft facility, but rather take out a cheap installment loan. That saves a lot of money.

The distribution of the answers in the various age groups is interesting: Among the youngest respondents aged 18 to 29, 14.8 percent regret having made the wrong investment. In the 40 to 49 age group, on the other hand, it is only 9.7 percent.

Housing is the biggest problem for respondents of the typical age when starting a family: almost a quarter of 30 to 39 year olds (23.1 percent) and at least 19.7 percent of 40 to 49 year olds regret not owning their own home have invested. It is also striking that 15.6 percent of 40 to 49-year-olds regret not having built up any savings – significantly more than the population average.

Methodology: The opinion research company Civey surveyed 2,500 people on behalf of Raisin GmbH (“WeltSparen”). The results are representative for the German population aged 18 and over. Further details on the study can be found here.