Do You Have the Right Mindset for a Secure and Happy Retirement?

So much of life is determined by your mindset. How you think about things can result in how things are and will be. Recent research from Wells Fargo has found that “Planning is actually everything.” And, particularly true if you want to feel great about your financial future.

What is a Planning Mindset? Do You Have It?

A planning mindset is a way of thinking. When you have a planning mindset, you are more focused on the process and making incremental changes. You are less worried about having an immediate solution to all of your problems.

Wells Fargo defines 4 components of a planning mindset. How many of these apply to you?

  1. You are able to work diligently toward a long-term goal
  2. In the last six months you have set and achieved a goal or set of goals to support your life in retirement
  3. You prefer saving for retirement now to ensure you have a better life in retirement
  4. You feel better to have your finances planned out in the next 1-2 years

Research suggests that only 35% of workers have a planning mindset. But, you don’t have to be born with it. You can become a planner.

Planning Mindset: They Key to a Happy Retirement

Wells Fargo found that workers with a planning mindset felt significantly better than others about life, retirement, and their future. Additionally, a planning mindset is a powerful predictor of positive financial outcomes and personal wellness — regardless of income levels. It benefits those with significant resources and those without.

Just look at how much better people with a planning mindset feel about their finances. They are:

  • 2 times more satisfied with their overall financial life
  • 2 times more confident that they have saved enough for retirement
  • 2.5 times more likely to have a strong sense of control over their debt situation
  • 5 times better prepared for handling the unexpected
  • 5 times more likely to have a long term plan with overarching goals

You Don’t Have to Have it All Figured Out Right Now

Don’t worry if you don’t feel in control of your finances now. Workers with the planning mindset feel like they can positively impact their outcomes and that is the key: You just need to understand your problems, set goals and make progress!

While it might be easy, the reality is that only 30% of workers feel personal control over:

  • Personal Debt
  • Financial life
  • Investment performance
  • Career

On the other hand, people with a planning mindset know that they can do things to make a difference in each of these areas.

So, if you don’t feel in control, what can you do? See below for ideas on how to apply a planning mindset to your debt, financial life, investments and career.

Personal Debt

One of the greatest threats to retirement today may not be saving too little, but owing too much.

However, if you have debt, don’t despair. Instead, adopt a planning mindset and create a plan for dealing with it.

If you need some motivation, use the NewRetirement Retirement Planner to see your future finances with and without debt. After you enter initial information, you will get a complete analysis of your situation. Next you can try out different scenarios and immediately see the impact of each change. See what happens if you accelerate your debt payments, consolidate loans, work longer, reduce interest rates or try any of the other options.

Find a plan that works for you.

Here are more tips for eliminating debt.

Financial Life

Life can be hard. Managing your money monthly while juggling all of your everyday priorities and also plan for the next 30 or 40 years can feel overwhelming.

But, it doesn’t need to be that way. The research suggests that you can start with smaller and more achievable steps that reinforce the right behaviors that will help you build confidence to move to the next level.

  • Use a goal-based approach with visual tools including dashboards and personal finance apps. (We, of course, recommend the NewRetirement Planner. It is easy to get started and work on your plan over time.)
  • Adopt financial planning as a daily, monthly, or quarterly habit. (Again, NewRetirement can help you with reminders to stay on track.)
  • Encourage family discussions about money, boosting confidence and positively impacting relationships. (Explore 8 topics to tackle if you want to survive retirement with your spouse.)

Investment Performance

I know someone who is extremely successful. He seems to have it all together with a great career and family life. You want to know his dark secret? While he has amassed significant savings, he doesn’t have those assets invested — at all! And, worst of all, he doesn’t have a plan for putting that money to work.

You need to be invested. You need your money to grow. (It actually loses value if it is not at least keeping pace with inflation.)

It is really important that you focus on developing and executing a comprehensive investment plan.

This is not something that everyone can competently do on their own. It is very reasonable to get help. Here are some ideas for adopting a planning mindset and improving your investment performance:

Read just one article. Make one phone call to talk with an advisor. Do one thing and you are adopting a planning mindset and will be on your way to a happier future.


Long gone are the days when everyone worked for one company, collected a steady paycheck and retired with a pension. Today’s work environment really requires a planning mindset. Work is more fluid and flexible and this can be a great thing.

More and more retirees are finding retirement jobs, working part time and/or doing things they actually love doing.

Explore the best jobs for after retirement, 14 reasons why retirement jobs are the best, and tips for starting a business after 50.

Create a Plan Adopt a Planning Mindset

We talk so much at NewRetirement about creating a plan. And, the reality is that maybe a lot of people think that means a one time event. Maybe we need to starting saying: adopt a planning mindset.

Creating a plan is indeed a process. You start by getting organized. And then you tweak and tune and find ways to improve your finances. Finally, you keep everything updated and continue to make adjustments.

Adopt a planning mindset. Happy Planning! Happy Retirement!

NewRetirement Planner

Do it yourself retirement planning: easy, comprehensive, reliable

NewRetirement Planner

Take financial wellness into your own hands and do it yourself retirement planning: easy, comprehensive, reliable.

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