AICPA Poll Finds Nearly a Quarter of Americans Have No Financial Plan

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
May 4, 2021
CPA.2019.89.7.062.uf001 (1) Financial Planning Accountant Couple Signing Advice

A recent AICPA poll has found that while most Americans use the tax season to think about and make changes to their financial goals, almost a quarter have no plan at all.

The survey sample of 2,028 adults includes those who have filed income taxes in the last three years. The data revealed that 55 percent have used the information collected and entered on their annual tax return to create or make changes to their financial plan, with 27 percent saying they do so annually. Yet 23 percent of the respondents, nearly one in four, said that they have no financial plan at all. The AICPA said that those who want to develop a financial plan should focus on five areas: who counts on them for support, whether their withholding is aligned with the taxes they owe, where their money is coming from, where they are on the road to retirement, and what role itemized deductions play in their plans.

“As good as it may feel to have taxes behind you, the information that you’ve just gathered is an up-to-date roadmap of your financial life right in front of you,” said Gregory J. Anton, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Don’t simply file and forget your tax return. Use it as a tool to help you in developing a plan that will put you on the path to reach your financial goals.”

As one might imagine, a lack of financial literacy can be expensive. The National Financial Educators Council, in a recent poll, asked about 1,500 adults this year a single question: "During the past year (2020), about how much money do you think you lost because you lacked knowledge about personal finances?" The average amount named was $1,634 per adult. By extrapolating these results to be representative of the approximate total of U.S. adults (254 million), it estimated that financial illiteracy cost the country's citizens more than $415 billion in 2020.

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