AXA UK research shows 58% of people would advise their younger selves to make better choices for the future

  • Research for AXA’s ‘Future You will thank you’ campaign explores how our future selves will thank us for the good choices we make today and reveals the decisions people are most thankful for
  • Respondents said they wished they had looked after their physical health more, avoided wasting time on negative people and learned from past mistakes
  • Being landed with hefty vet bills and having their home flooded were among the situations where people regretted not taking out insurance

AXA UK research has revealed the advice Brits would give their younger selves, from investing in property as early as possible to taking more photos and not being afraid of rejection when asking someone out.

A survey of 2,000 adults found 58 per cent would love nothing more than to give the younger version of themselves some good tips.

Those surveyed said they would look after their physical health more, avoid wasting their time on negative people and learn from their mistakes.

The top 20 list also included recommendations to save 10 per cent of your wages every month, spend more time with your parents and celebrate the little wins.

But while 67 per cent would offer financial words of wisdom, 82 per cent felt positive knowing every decision they’ve made has led them to the point where they are now.

And the same percentage (82 per cent) wanted to live their life with no regrets.

AXA UK commissioned the study as part of its ‘Future You will thank you’ campaign that looks at how our future selves will thank us for the good choices we make today and reveals the decisions people are most thankful for.

Scarlette Douglas, former A Place in The Sun host and I’m A Celebrity contestant, is taking part in the campaign and discussed the forks in the road which led her to a career in television. She has contributed to an eBook revealing more of these insights from celebrities and the public.


I had been performing in musicals for eight years when I made what I feel was a great decision at that point in my life, which was to move away from theatre and pursue a different career in television presenting.

I finished my last musical in 2014 and in 2015 I landed an amazing job as a presenter for A Place in The Sun – I had my first presenting role on a Channel 4 show.

I’ve now been in television for eight years and if I didn’t take a leap of faith and make that decision to leave musical theatre and pursue television, I would never be where I am now.

The study also found buying a house as soon as possible, getting married and heading off abroad were some of the things people are most grateful to their younger self for.

But when it came to regrets, 39 per cent said they had at least one big one in their life.

Of those, 56 per cent said these were romantically linked, while 35 per cent had health-related regrets.

Others spoke about how they wish they got to know parents and loved ones better before they passed away, although 27 per cent said they had learnt from some of the regrets their parents had experienced.

TV architect George Clarke is also involved with the campaign and spoke about his first home.

When I bought my first ‘grown-up’ house it was a wreck and definitely a building project.

We had to live in it while we did the work bit by bit over the course of three years – it was a major project and at the time we didn't have a lot of money, so it was work, earn, do building work... repeat.

It was a major refurbishment and what made it even harder was our kid was born during the build too. All of it was a big risk, especially a financial one.

The house looked amazing when we completed it, and although we loved it the financial pressure and the length of the build took its toll and we made the decision to sell.

We were very lucky with the sale and we were able to buy another great house just a few hundred yards from the one we’d sold – that project began the journey of setting ourselves up for life.

The research also revealed that dropping a phone down the toilet, having to pay hefty vet bills and having their home flooded were the situations where people regretted not getting insurance.

There was a desire among those surveyed via OnePoll to say yes more often, with peoplevwanting to experience new travel and holiday destinations (46 per cent), new social activities and plans (35 per cent) and new friendships (34 per cent).

Jason Fox, TV broadcaster, former UK Special Forces soldier and Royal Marine Commando, is also taking part in the initiative.

When I left the marines after 20 years of service, I suffered from PTSD and had to learn to look after my mental health. 

I realised I could also be useful in the civil world, by showing others that mental wellbeing is a strength, not a weakness.

When I was able to, the best decision I made was to invest in my mental health initiative and organisation ‘Rock 2 Recovery’ to support others in similar situations and help them find their way.

Jason Fox, TV broadcaster, former UK Special Forces Soldier and Royal Marines Commando

Every decision we make impacts our future, from the biggest life choices to the smallest.

The findings show most people are quite happy with the majority of decisions they’ve made, but they wouldn’t be averse to going back and giving their younger self a bit of guidance to influence how things turned out further down the line.

It’s encouraging that so many people say they aren’t living their life with regrets and it’s good to see a real desire to experience new things and push the boundaries, such as visiting far-flung places or trying new activities.

Making sure you’re always covered for every eventuality – whether it’s carhomebusiness or health insurance – means you can take on whatever life throws at you without worrying about unforeseen consequences or unexpected financial challenges.

Top pieces of advice we wish we could tell our younger self

  1. Be more confident
  2. Try not to care what other people think
  3. Don’t let opportunities pass you by
  4. Look after physical health more
  5. Don’t waste time with negative people
  6. Learn from your mistakes
  7. Save 10 per cent of your wages every month
  8. Eat healthily as it will pay dividends down the line
  9. Go on all the holidays you can
  10. Invest in property as early as you can
  11. Don’t just settle for things
  12. Just relax and enjoy the ride
  13. Look after your mental health better
  14. Spend more time with your parents
  15. Celebrate the little wins
  16. Take more risks
  17. Don’t be afraid of rejection when asking someone out
  18. Always be there for your mates
  19. Take more photos
  20. Be disciplined with your time


About AXA

AXA is one of the largest insurers in the UK. We provide a wide range of commercial and personal insurance solutions, working closely with our broker partners.

AXA Commercial

SME, mid-market, mid-corporate and schemes propositions that give businesses the confidence to thrive, today and tomorrow.

AXA Retail

A range of quality products to suit your clients’ needs, helping people live the life they love, knowing we’ve got their back, at home and on the road.

Latest video

AXA Schemes video: Watch how to create successful and scalable, unique scheme propositions

AXA UK's Gary Head and Joel Markham, alongside Calibrant's Andrew Kealing and Custodian Management Ltd's Zahid Naqvi gave the Managing General Agents’... click here for more