Wouldn’t it be great if your future self could come back in time and help you avoid making a few giant mistakes down the road? Since that’s not possible, here’s the next best thing: Researchers polled over a thousand older North Americans between the ages of 60 to 108 and asked what they most regretted. And what they wished they’d done differently. Here are the results:

  • Pursuing financial security at all costs. You’d think people who lived through the Great Depression would make money a top priority. Instead, they say your number one priority should be spending more time with family. They also believe having a fulfilling job is better than an unsatisfying one, no matter how big the paycheck.
  • Getting into debt. One 89-year-old said you should never use a credit card unless you can pay the balance in full when the bill comes. Bottom line: Life’s much less stressful when you save up before you buy something.
  • Don’t worry too much about the future! The most succinct advice: “Worrying never solved anything. So, don't do it!”
  • Don’t rush into marriage. According to the poll, most senior citizens don’t recommend marriage as early as possible. That’s especially true for those whose first marriages failed. So, if you’re not 100% positive about your choice of mate, don’t say, “I do!”
  • Don’t pass up opportunities! The people polled said they most regretted the things they didn't do than those they did. As one 73-year-old put it, life’s an adventure, and if you don’t participate, it’ll pass you by.

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