Tax Reform Prompts Affluent to Seek Out Financial Planners

Fifty-three percent say that working with an adviser could help them meet their goals.

Sixty-three percent of affluent Americans, those with at least $250,000 in investable assets or more than $200,000 in household income, say the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will prompt them to adjust their financial plans, a survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) found.

Fifty-three percent said that working with a financial planner with substantial tax expertise, such as a CPA, could help them meet their financial goals.

“Effective financial planning takes an individual’s personal situation into account, as well as current laws and overall economic climate,” says Jeannette Koger, vice president of advisory services and credentialing at AICPA. “The newly enacted tax legislation is going to have an impact on the financial plans of tens of millions of Americans. With their foundational knowledge in tax, CPA financial planners are best positioned to understand the consequences of the new law and work with clients to ensure that their financial plans are tax efficient and designed to meet their long-term goals.”

Asked about their financial goals, the affluent Americans who were surveyed first said retirement savings, cited by 68%. That was followed by: not outliving their savings (46%), tax efficiency of savings and investment (43%), having a health care plan (39%), achieving their investment return goals (36%), having an estate plan (26%), retiring earlier (22%) and delaying taking Social Security in retirement (21%).

Eighty-one percent said they would be likely to achieve at least one of these financial goals with a tax-efficient financial plan. Twenty-five percent said a tax-efficient financial plan would likely enable them to leave a substantial inheritance for their children or grandchildren, and 18% said it would make them more likely to pay for their children’s college education. In addition, 44% said they would probably be able to travel more, and 12% said they could purchase a vacation home.

The Harris Poll conducted the online survey for AICPA among 507 adults late last September into early October.