(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

Middle income earners may view millionaires of not having a care in the world but high-net-worth individuals' have a raft of concerns and regrets too when it comes to their finances.

We surveyed 659 of our clients internationally and published the poll today, which shows that millionaires' top financial regret is not having put in place a regularly reviewed personal financial plan earlier in life.

With more than half of those surveyed citing this as their overriding regret, it's clear that wealthy individuals value highly the benefits and opportunities that long-term financial planning brings them and their families, and that they understand the importance of routinely reviewing those plans to ensure that they always remain 'on track' to reach their financial goals.

The second biggest financial regret was not consistently scrutinising personal investments.

The results suggest that they have previously made some costly mistakes by not keeping a closer watch over their investments which can, of course, always go down as well as up - and very quickly, especially in times of increased volatility.

The third was taking on too much unnecessary debt.

A lack of financial discipline, which often manifests itself into a 'keeping up with the Joneses'-type mentality, is an enemy of wealth creation and those surveyed appear to now believe that this might have delayed them achieving their longer-term, more fundamental financial objectives.

When we asked a sample of its clients in Europe, including the UK, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the US who have investable assets of more than £1m (or the equivalent), "what is your number one financial regret?" - 57% said not devising a reviewable strategy for their personal finances sooner.

Some 18% regretted not regularly assessing the performance of their investments, while 13% regretted accumulating unnecessary debt.

Meanwhile, 12% cited other regrets, including not saving enough to fund their children's or grandchildren's education or not having built a large enough estate to leave to their heirs.

But these regrets may not be exclusive to just millionaires.

Whilst this survey focuses on high-net-worth individuals, I suspect that should the same poll of middle income earners be carried out, it would produce similar results.

As someone's wealth empowers them and their families to live the life they want to live, I imagine that any financial regrets would be fairly consistent.

Nigel Green is the CEO at The deVere Group, which is the world's largest independent international financial consultancy group.

Within excess of $9bn of funds under administration and management, deVere has more than 70,000 clients in over 100 countries.