This is the biggest regret most retirees have, according to research

If retirees could talk to their younger selves, they’d say they need to save more for their golden years.

“We think about the regret most of our respondents had, it was that they didn’t start saving early enough,” Allspring chief retirement officer Nate Miles told Yahoo Finance Live of the company’s recent global investment survey of 2,758 adults in the neighborhood and retired.

As a result, many of Allspring’s respondents are considering semi-retirement.

“About 25% of them have resigned to work later and retire at a later date and/or simply expect less from retirement,” Miles said.

But that’s not always a viable option, according to the survey results. One in 4 early retirees unexpectedly took early retirement due to job loss and health problems.

(Photo Credit: Getty Creative)

Instead, employees should focus on saving, Miles said.

He recommends that employees save at least 10% of their income for retirement. Employees can even make up for lost time if they start saving for retirement later in their careers. It just means consistently tucking away more.

“One of the things that worried us about the survey was actually that people who started saving in their 40s only saved at a rate of about 10% 50% of the time,” Miles said. “Even if people save later, they’re not actually making up for that 10 or 20 years in terms of that delayed start date.

Employers can also play a role in helping employees meet their retirement goals through automatic enrollment plans. That’s when employees are automatically enrolled in their company’s 401(k) when they start. Some employers also offer automatic premium increases each year.

Close-up of a senior couple going through their home finances

(Photo Credit: Getty Creative)

Studies have shown that employers with auto-enrollment pension plans have much higher participation rates among their employees.

“The majority of participants lack the commitment or financial knowledge to often make the best decision for them. So things like auto-enrollment and auto-escalation will help solve some of those issues on their behalf,” Mile said. ‘And we see that more and more plans are adding that. With the recent introduction of SECURE 2.0, we expect even more participants in employer-sponsored plans to do so.”

Auto-enrollment can also help women, who are more concerned about reaching their retirement goals, Miles said. The Allspring survey found that 69% of women are confident their savings will last into retirement, compared to 87% of men.

“In general, women have less confidence in their retirement and are generally more anxious. Part of that is that they often aren’t in the workforce their entire career, and so they don’t take advantage of that time in savings,” Miles said. “This is an area where the [auto-enrollment plans] will really help, where we’re going to get more and more women into work who are actually saving longer for retirement.”

Ella Vincent is the personal financial reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @bookgirlchicago

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