The Biggest Regrets of Millionaires

Should we have a whip-round?  Turns out that millionaires are like us, after all. A new study by UBS Investor Watch has uncovered the top concerns and regrets of this exclusive club (2,215 of them), revealed below. One of the study’s most interesting findings is that millionaires struggle to get off the money-making treadmill: as their wealth increases, so do their aspirations to make even more money:

“Enough is not enough for many millionaires to be fully satisfied because lifestyle expectations rise with net worth.”

The pressure to keep earning (to maintain family, homes, vacations etc.) is what drives them, according to the report, in addition to ambition and a fear of losing it all (more than three in five feel that a major setback such as the loss of their job would have a significant (negative) impact on their lifestyle).

Over half of the millionaires surveyed feel “stuck” on the treadmill, without “any real sense” of how much money they need to get off it.

The Biggest Regrets of Millionaires

Millionaires’ biggest regrets are family-related. Over 64 percent of the millionaires with children feel that they sacrificed time with their families in order to achieve their wealth. When the researchers asked the millionaires to rank their aspirations in order of importance to them, here’s how the numbers broke down:


A mistake in a relationship with my family 23 per cent
Not spending more time with my family 17 per cent
Not taking enough chances 15 per cent
Not taking care of my health 11 per cent
A misstep in my career 9 per cent
Focusing too much on my career 7 per cent


Other highlights from the UBS study include the following:

  • When asked if they would do anything differently, almost all the millionaires surveyed said they would.
  • Over 60 percent of the millionaires say they would do more travelling if they only had five years left to live.
  • Only 3 percent say they would work harder to provide for their family when asked the same question.
  • 61 percent say they would spend more time with their family.
  • More than three-fifths are concerned that their children will not understand the value of money.
  • Two-thirds of the millionaires believe that their children “take things for granted”, and over half are concerned that their children will “act entitled” and “lack motivation”.
  • Millionaires cite “hard work” as being the most important factor behind their success, and the most of them believe they have worked “harder than the average American”.
  • 70 percent of millionaires feel that the “American dream” of “upward mobility” through hard work is at risk of disappearing, which perhaps ties in with their fear that their children will take things for granted. But they also believe that the average American household faces much more by way of financial challenges than they did.


  • It’s official. Money doesn’t buy happiness – but you suspected that anyway.
  • One interesting insight from the data is that the millionaires fear  their children will not have the industry and diligence that they both  had and used to become successful. They worry that they are incubating a generation of children who lack motivation and have a sense of “entitlement”.

See Also: 5 Things the Middle Class Don’t Understand About Being Rich

What’s your takeaway from this study (you can read it in full here)? Share your comments in the box below!

UBS Investor Watch