Do you love wine? Next question: Are you financially confident? This one is a little harder to answer, right? To be financially confident means that you feel good about your current financial situation and future outlook. If this sounds like you, you’re a confident planner. Research shows that 21 percent of Americans are Confident Planners when it comes to their financial lives.1 (The remaining 80 percent of Americans are stressed-out, largely due to financial worry.) In exploring answers to the questions above, you may be surprised to learn that the worlds of wine and financial planning have a lot in common. High-quality ingredients The best wines in the world begin with top-quality ingredients. Starting with the land, vintners plant premium grapes in rich, verdant soil. And not all land is of equal value. For example, the celebrated wines of the Burgundy region in France come from land priced at around $5 million per acre.2 The land is the first factor in the quality of wine. For confident planners, the same principle holds true for a strong financial plan. One of the best ways to begin is with a plan that includes products like life insurance, disability income insurance and a retirement strategy. Improve the harvest over time Wine lovers know that their favorite vintage doesn’t happen overnight. On the contrary, it’s a long, steady process of planting, growing, harvesting, storing and bottling. Through continually refining their process, vintners can improve their final product. For example, a maker may use machine harvesting in the field, and produce a wine that earns an 85 rating — “very good.” Yet if this maker transitions to harvesting by hand, he’s more likely to earn a coveted 95 rating for “classic” wine excellence.3 Like those high-performing vintners, confident planners, have model behaviors that can help them optimize outcomes. And like vintners, anyone — Day-to-Day Decision Makers, Ambitious Spenders, or Retirement Realists — can adopt these practices. One of these behaviors is to work with a financial professional to develop a financial plan. Next, Confident Planners understand that it takes time for a financial plan to come to fruition, just like wine needs to age. During the process, they live within their means and stick to the long-term plan. They understand that their efforts will pay off in the end, as it will with the vintage. The master vintner Think back to a recent occasion when you enjoyed a bottle of wine among friends. Even if the wine was unforgettable, it’s likely no one craved the years-long experience of producing it. Thankfully, there are vintners around the world who begin each season with a harvest plan based on years of experience in the field. Over the course of the year, they gauge the ever-changing factors that may affect the harvest — like the levels of sun and rain, for example. No growing plan is identical from one harvest to another. Likewise, there is no one-size-fits-all financial plan for everyone. (You can find out your financial confidence type here.) Confident Planners enlist the experience of financial professionals. Through working with a financial professional, they gain a custom plan for their financial future. Additionally, financial professionals help confident planners adjust to changes in the market over time. A discerning palette Wine enthusiasts can easily sense the difference between vintage Burgundy versus Two-Buck Chuck. For Confident Planners, a difference in financial planning can be just as evident. In both wine and finances, quality inputs, time and professional guidance can potentially help build a product to savor. Brought to you by The Guardian Network © 2018. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, New York, NY 2018-64222 Exp. 08/2020 SOURCES:  The Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence™, 2016  The Real Difference Between an $10 and $100 Bottle of Wine, Sep. 1, 2017  Wine Spectator’s 100-Point System DISCLAIMERS: The Guardian Network® is a network of preferred providers authorized to offer products of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY and its subsidiaries.