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How a Planning Mindset Can Help You Achieve Your Goals in Smooth and Volatile Times

Wells Fargo research reveals that adopting certain attitudes and behaviors could improve your chances of reaching your investing and savings goals (including saving for retirement).

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2020 has certainly not started off the way many investors had planned. Among the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are worries about what comes next financially. But did you know that how you view and plan your financial life could impact your financial well-being? Research shows that—besides affecting your health and career—having a planning mindset could help you get back on track toward striving for your retirement planning goals.

In 2019, the Wells Fargo Retirement study uncovered some of the key statements that connect to the attitudes and behaviors that accompany this planning mindset. These include:

  1. Setting and achieving a goal or set of goals during the past six months to support their financial life.
  2. Working diligently toward a long-term goal.
  3. Feeling better about having finances planned out over the next one to two years.
  4. Preferring to save for retirement now to ensure they have a better life in retirement.

Here, Patricia Wilfong, Wealth Planner at Wells Fargo Private Bank, shares three actions that can help individuals create—or strengthen—a planning mindset and potentially improve their financial well-being.

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Workers with a planning mindset are nearly 2 times more satisfied with their overall financial life, 2.5 times more likely to have a strong sense of personal control over their current debt situation, and 5 times more likely to have a long-term plan with overarching goals.

Review and update your wealth plan regularly

Wilfong suggests that market changes resulting from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic mean that you should consider reevaluating your plan with a wealth planner. Such a review may help your plan stay aligned with your near- and long-term goals.

“You’ll want to monitor your plan in relation to your current situation,” Wilfong says. As part of this process, you should evaluate your spending habits, savings rate, and risk profile to make sure all parts of your plan are up to date.

Be realistic about what you’ll spend in retirement

Wilfong says many clients underestimate how much they will need to support their desired standard of living in retirement compared to their current wants and needs.

“Following a careful review of your plan, you may realize that you may not be generating enough revenue for you to supplement your income in retirement,” she says. “Having excess time on your hands can equate to an increase in hobbies and other activities that can have a costly effect on your retirement planning budget. We also find that clients often underestimate the cost of healthcare.”

Wilfong recommends developing a retirement plan that includes additional financial considerations such as wealth transfer, estate tax planning, risk management, philanthropic giving, and other goals.

Explore options to help prepare for unexpected expenses

“Always plan for what could happen and insure yourself properly so you’re prepared,” Wilfong says. The previously mentioned 2019 Wells Fargo retirement study, for example, reveals that individuals with a planning mindset are five times more likely to have a plan for handling the unexpected.

“Options like disability and life insurance can help protect against the potential for loss of earning power during your working years in case of events such as a serious illness, job loss, or needing to financially lend a hand to family members,” she says. (Learn more about planning for uncertainty.)

Josh Davis is a business journalist based in North Carolina.

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Special disclaimers:

Wells Fargo Wealth Planning Center, part of Wells Fargo Private Bank, provides wealth and financial planning services through Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and its various affiliates and subsidiaries.

Insurance products are offered through nonbank insurance agency affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company and are underwritten by unaffiliated insurance companies. Not available in all states.

Wells Fargo & Company and its affiliates do not provide legal advice. Wells Fargo Advisors is not a tax or legal advisor. Please consult your legal and tax advisors to determine how this information may apply to your own situation. Whether any planned tax result is realized by you depends on the specific facts of your own situation at the time your taxes are prepared.

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