AAII Survey: Are You Better Off Now Compared to a Year Ago?


A survey from a website called WalletHub found that six in 10 of us say we’re better off financially this year than last year. Last year, it was five in 10 of us.

In addition, the survey found that a third of us will spend more than $500 this Christmas season, and that’s up from last year.

AAII Weekly Survey Question

After reading this survey, we were curious to know where things stand with our readers. So last week’s survey question asked:

This holiday season, do you plan to spend more or less than you did last year?

Here are the results of the survey:

In all, 1,170 readers participated.

The majority of our readers—64%—say they don’t plan to change their spending habits compared to last year and, instead, expect to spend about the same this holiday season as last year.

Only 14% of those who responded say they plan to spend more this holiday season compared to last year.

Nearly a quarter—22%—say they plan to spend less this holiday season compared to last year.

Weekly Special Question

Following up, last week’s special question asked out readers:

Compared to last year, do you feel you are better off financially? How so?

In all, we received 200 responses.

Of those responses, 15.5% explicitly stated they are better off compared to last year, while 15.0% explicitly stated they are worse off now compared to last year.

Across the range of responses, 34.5% say they are better off than last year when taking into account investments, health care costs, taxes, inflation, etc. By comparison, 39.5% say they are worse off now compared to last year when taking these factors into account. Another 20.5% explicitly stated they are doing the same as they were last year at this time.

Nearly 16% of respondents say they are worse off this year because their investment portfolio is down. Only 7% say their portfolio is going better than it was last year.

Here is a sampling of why our readers say they are better or worse off financially compared to last year:

  • “Yes, better off. The state income tax is being phased out!!”
  • “About the same. Looming expense is long-term care.”
  • “Net worth is negative for the year and taxes and health insurance have increased.”
  • “Not better off, too many medical bills.”
  • “About so-so. It has been a tough year in the stock market. Too many unknowns seem to be taking what potential upside there may have been and turning it into a big question mark. The threat of a recession is omnipresent and although the Fed says that inflation is in check, it’s not the real world.”
  • “Definitely worse off especially after estimating higher federal taxes using the AAII tax forecasting worksheet.”
  • “No. Expenses (especially taxes) keep increasing while income is flat.”
  • “Not sure—the daily, weekly, monthly and annual swings make it difficult to understand the past and guess at the future.”

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



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