Americans Plan to Turn to Advisers for Tax Reform Guidance

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has also increased Americans’ appetite for equities.

Asked who they will turn to for help navigating the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Americans most commonly cited financial advisers (25%), followed by accountants (14%) and tax-preparation services (11%), TD Ameritrade learned in an online survey of 1,000 adults with at least $10,000 in investable assets, conducted in late January. A mere 25% said they understand the new law.

“There are plenty of experts offering their views on the new tax code and how investors should respond, yet we find, once again, that investors want advice and guidance from someone they trust, especially in times of uncertainty and change,” says Tom Nally, president of TD Ameritrade Institutional. “People want to know that someone has their back. More often than not, that trusted individuals is their personal financial adviser.”

Thirty-five percent of Americans said they expected to see larger paychecks as a result of the reform, although 22% expected to take home less. Views on whether the new law benefits the country are also mixed, with 41% believing they will benefit the economy, and 35% thinking they will have a negative effect. Sixty-three percent said they think people who earn more than they do will benefit more, and 55% said that very wealthy people will benefit the most.

Twenty-two percent of Americans said they love the new tax plan, 29% said they hate it, and 49% said they are neutral. Among Republican Americans, 42% love it, a mere 9% of Democrats said the same, while 20% of Independents said the love the new law. Wealthier households, those with investable assets of $250,000 or more, love the new law, while this is true for only 22% of those in the $100,000 to $249,000 bracket and 20% of those in the <$100,000 bracket.

Thirty percent said they expect the taxes they will pay next year for 2018 will be lower than this year, 33% expect to pay more, 24% said they don’t expect and changes, and 13% said they didn’t know what the outcome will be.

The survey also found that Americans have an increased appetite for equities, with 30% wanting to invest in individual stocks, 23% in equity mutual funds and 15% in equity exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Fifty-seven percent said they would consider contributing more to their retirement account, and 24% said they would consider moving to an area of the country with lower taxes.

Koski Research conducted the survey for TD Ameritrade. The full findings of the report, Americans & Taxes: An Individual Investor Survey, can be downloaded here.