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People who have a financial plan build roughly 20 percent more wealth over their lifetimes than people who don’t. That’s according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study, “Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan.”

If you have a budget, it gets even better. For households making between $50,000 and $750,000—quite a wide range—budgeting can increase net worth by 5 percent and gross financial assets by 10 percent.

True, the researchers weren’t sure if the increase was caused by planning alone.

“Budgeters may save more either because budgeting itself promotes saving, or because the type of people who budget tend to be savers,” study authors John Ameriks, Andrew Caplin and John Leahy say.

People who don’t like to plan, or those without a plan, tend to be a little sloppier when monitoring their spending, and don’t save as much. They also tend to be what the researchers call “financially inert” meaning that they don’t make many moves with their money.

Still, you can still make it work for you. The study points out that any financial plan can help boost your savings. No matter how vague or detailed, paying attention to your money means you’ll have more of it.

A little planning goes a long way. It’s a hard proposition to ignore.

See the entire paper here: “Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan.”

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