AAII Readers Reveal Their Greatest Financial Planning Concerns


We are now less than two months from the April 18 federal tax filing deadline. Taxes are traditionally due on April 15, but the IRS pushes off the due date if it falls on a weekend or holiday. This year, April 15 falls on a Saturday. The next business day, Monday, April 17, is a holiday in Washington, D.C. (Emancipation Day). Therefore, taxes are due on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. In addition, those who file in Maine and Massachusetts get an extra day due to Patriots Day. Therefore, if you file in either of these states, you’ll have until Wednesday, April 19, to submit your taxes and make any necessary tax payments.

If you have yet to file your taxes, don’t forget one of the benefits of AAII membership is the annual Individual Investor’s Guide to Personal Tax Planning.

My taxes are relatively straightforward, although this year I had multiple mortgage refinancings so I had to wait for more tax documents than usual. I filed my taxes on February 1 and received my refund roughly two weeks later.

AAII Weekly Survey Question

This made me curious as to where our readers are in the tax filing process, so last week we posed the following question:

Where are you in your annual income tax filing process?

Here are the results:

Out of the 2,929 readers who responded as of Monday morning, three-quarters are still waiting to receive all the necessary tax documents they need to file their income taxes. , the overwhelming majority–70% in all–choose the mutual funds or ETFs they invest in based on their own research. Trailing far behind in second place, 13% of respondents invest in mutual funds or ETFs based on the recommendation or advice of their financial advisor, while another 7% choose their mutual funds or ETFs based on mutual fund ratings’ agencies.

Another 14%, the majority of which probably owe money to the federal government, aren’t in any hurry to file their taxes.

It seems that I am in the minority, as I am among the 9% that have already filed their income taxes.

One percent of our readers don’t file income taxes in the U.S. and another 1% have filed for an extension.

Weekly Special Question

For many, income tax season is a time to reflect on their financial planning goals and objectives. Therefore, last week’s special question asked:

What are your greatest financial planning concerns and most important objectives?

In all, 237 responded and the concern cited the most by our readers is the fear of not having enough money to enjoy the retirement they are hoping for or outliving their retirement assets. In all, nearly one-quarter (23%) listed this as a financial planning concern.

Also high on the list, cited by over 17% of our readers, is the desire to build or preserve their investment capital.

Estate planning was on the minds of roughly 12% of respondents. This included having a plan in place for a surviving spouse, providing an inheritance and charitable giving.

Since we started this conversation with income taxes, it is perhaps not surprising that nearly 11% of our readers are also concerned about minimizing their tax burden on capital gains or their estate.

Lastly, nearly 9% each are worried about the next market correction or downturn and its impact on their portfolio, as well as the impact of the current political environment on the economy and financial markets.

Here is a sampling of the responses:

  • “Accumulating enough for retirement and managing [my] money in retirement to ensure it lasts.”
  • “All my life I have not panicked in a major downturn. I’m now 58 and moving mostly into stocks. My greatest concern is will I be able to mentally last through the next market downturn. My objective is to have our money last to age 90 and leave some for the two kids.”
  • “Being able to generate enough income going forward to cover my Obamacare monthly insurance premiums. I still have another 4 years before Medicare.”
  • “Bubble bursting, stocks tanking. I wish to preserve capital.”
  • “Concern: What are the policies and regulations that will result from the new President and Congress.”
  • “Maintaining the capital I have without sustaining major losses.”
  • “Preserving principal while receiving RMD distributions and protecting the principal from negative volatility in the market.”
  • “Management and planning when I get very old or senile.”
  • “Planning for my wife if I pass before she does as to who will manage her finances.”
  • “The stock market not achieving its historical return average for the next 15 year time period.”

Everybody has an opinion! Why not give us yours? Participate in our weekly member poll, updated every Monday, and see the results online at http://www.aaii.com/memberquestion.


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