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The COVID-19 pandemic threw many things off balance. Events were canceled, the supply chain was compromised and people’s retirement plans were disrupted. It was among the most unexpected global events of anyone’s lifetime and even the most seemingly robust plans were vulnerable to the domino effect the pandemic caused.

Marla Petti, senior wealth adviser at MAI in Beachwood, said there are a few things that changed people’s plans, but added there are actions they can take to adjust.

Petti said people who were laid off and no longer had access to a company retirement plan lost the automatic deduction and a company match.

“Having an automated savings plan in place is one of the most effective ways to build wealth, as it takes the thought and effort out of saving,” Petti said. “You set it and forget it. COVID-19 was a great lesson in how important having an emergency fund is. As a rule of thumb, individuals should aim to have three to six months of expenses accessible if they need them.”

For people with a sound financial strategy in place, Petti said it was vital to stay the course.

“A proper asset allocation, taking into account your goals, objectives, time horizon and risk tolerance, helps investors reduce risk through diversification,” Petti said. “It is essential to stay focused on your long-term goals and stick to your long-term plan.”

After all of these unexpected events, how can people adapt and adjust their plans? Petti said it’s essential to have a comprehensive plan in place that takes into account all aspects of your financial affairs.

“Plans should be reviewed annually or with changes in circumstances like a marriage, childbirth, divorce or death,” Petti said. “Working with a trusted adviser to establish and maintain a solid financial plan benefits individuals regardless of age or life phase.”

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