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Financial Planning Boosts Confidence: Survey

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Fear often keeps people from creating a financial plan, but those who do plan are more confident and positive about their current and future finances than those who do not, according to a survey released Wednesday by Citizens Bank Wealth Management.

The survey, which evaluated consumers’ financial planning attitudes and behaviors, found that only 55% of respondents had a firm financial plan, but of those without one, three in four people recognized the need for one.

For their part, 87% of planners reported a high level of confidence, and 75% a positive outlook on their financial security.

Their confidence stemmed from three things, the survey found: starting a plan early in adulthood, the long-term focus and discipline of having a plan and meeting often with an advisor to stay updated on financial issues.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said the personal satisfaction of being organized for their future was their primary reason for sticking to their financial plan, and about two-thirds cited a centralized location for managing finances.

“With the tremendous impact your financial wellness has on your overall wellness, we view financial plans as an essential tool in alleviating some of the anxieties around financial security,” John Bahnken, president of Citizens Bank Wealth Management, said in a statement.

“People often underestimate the benefit of something as simple as being organized, and this survey has demonstrated that it really can transform your thinking and your commitment to following through on your plan.”

Bahnken acknowledged that many consumers find it challenging to shift the balance from the fear-based attitudes about finances to the wellness benefits rooted in positive emotion and personal satisfaction.

Mintel, a market intelligence agency, conducted the nationally representative online survey in October and November among 1,648 consumers, ages 25 to 74, all of whom were financial decision-makers for their household.

The survey found that gender appeared to play a role in both attitudes about financial planning and expectations around advisory relationships.

One-third of women in the poll said financial planning should begin in early adulthood, compared with a quarter of men. However, only 53% of women had a firm financial plan, compared with 59% of men, and 59% of women said they felt financially secure, versus 70% of men.

Women who reported working with an advisor tended to place greater emphasis on relationship factors than their male counterparts. They were likelier to consider a tailored plan aligned to their preferences and a consistent engagement with plan revisions as the most important factors in an advisory relationship.

“This research has pointed to several ways we can help women achieve greater financial confidence and security,” Maggie Wall, head of premier advisory at Citizens Bank Wealth Management, said in the statement.

“Women want to be part of the process — to collaborate, to see options that reflect they’ve been heard and to be given the tools to understand and make informed decisions about those options.”

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