People with a “planning mindset” typically have more savings and less financial stress, according to the 2018 Wells Fargo Retirement Study.
“The most important finding in our research [was] the remarkable power of the ‘planning mindset,’” Fredrik Axsater, head of Strategic Business Segments at Wells Fargo Asset Management, said during a press briefing in New York.
Wells Fargo uncovered four specific statements that, when affirmed by workers, correlate with a significantly better financial life, including lower levels of financial stress and better financial well-being. The attitudes and behaviors inherent to the statements contribute to what Wells Fargo calls a “planning mindset.”
These four specific statements are:
- Setting a financial goal during the past six months.
- Working toward a long-term goal.
- Feeling good about planning financial matters over the next one to two years.
- Preferring to save for retirement now rather than waiting until later.
“What does it take for us to be successful in any sort of broader long-term goal? It starts with having a longer-term objective. It’s also helpful to have some medium-term goal in mind, and taking action,” Axsater explained. “And that is really what is representative in these four questions.
Workers that fall in the category of having a planning mindset are 42% less likely to have high levels of financial stress, the study found.
They’re also more likely to have more retirement savings. According to the study, they have 3.1 times more retirement savings than someone without a planning mindset. For example, the study found that working men with the planning mindset have saved more for retirement than those without ($150,000 versus $60,000). And the same is true for working women, where those with a planning mindset have $75,000 saved for retirement versus the $30,000 that those without a planning mindset have saved.
Across all workers, 84% of those with a planning mindset say they regularly contribute to retirement savings versus 66% who do not have this mindset. And fewer people with the planning mindset — 27% — envision living to age 85 or longer as a financial hardship versus 43% who do not have this mindset.
According to Axsater, the next question is how to get more people into this planning mindset.