Investors Pay More Attention to Overall Financial Plan During Tax Season, Study Says

March 24
8:26 PM 2016

A recent study conducted by American brokerage and banking company Charles Schwab revealed that nearly half of U.S. investors take advantage of tax season to address their broader wealth and financial situation. The result suggests that tax planning and overall financial planning as connected, interrelated activities.

The survey involved more than 1,000 U.S. investors, and among the respondents 47 percents said that they believe tax planning and financial planning are one and the same. Similarly, 44 percent indicated that tax planning plays a major role in how they invest and manage their wealth over time.

The study, as reported by Plan Adviser, also revealed that 40 percent of respondents have a written financial plan. Among the percentage of those with a written plan, more than half said that tax planning is a specific component of their financial plan. Also, those with a financial plan are more likely to consider their total financial situation during tax season among other time, and they are also more confident in preparing their taxes. Furthermore, 50 percent of the group with a financial plan consider tax season as an opportunity to address their overall financial situation, compared to 31 percent from the group who don't have a written financial plan.

Charles Schwab's senior vice president Joe Vietri further explained the close relation between financial plan and tax preparation, as released by Business Wire. "Active engagement in the investing process can make a big difference when it comes to achieving financial goals, and tax season provides an invaluable opportunity for people to think holistically about investing and financial planning," Vietri said. "Tax season is a time of year when people have all their financial information top of mind, so it's the ideal time to pay attention to broader financial goals and plot how you plan to get there," he added.

One of the findings of Schwab's survey also unveiled a room for improvement for investors regarding their approach to tax planning. According to Accounting Today, the survey concluded that only 29 percent of respondents pay attention to the impact of taxes in their investment portfolios, only 15 percent use tax loss harvesting to minimize the impact of investment-related taxes, and just 21 percent include charitable contributions as part of a tax planning strategy.

The recent survey results in a recommendation that tax planning shouldn't be just a seasonal activity for investors. The study also concluded that paying attention to taxes have positive impacts on investors' overall financial planning and confidence in paying taxes. 

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