The Pulse

New Tax Law and Market Decline Impact Average Americans’ Financial Satisfaction

Personal Financial Satisfaction Index (PFSi) measures the financial pleasure and pain of typical American households

Index to be Released this Thursday, April 26

NEW YORK (April 24, 2018) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) will release the results for the first quarter of 2018 Personal Financial Satisfaction Index (PFSi), a quarterly economic gauge that measures the personal financial standing of a typical American, at 7:00 a.m. EDT, Thursday, April 26.

This quarter’s release is the first time the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been felt in the index. In recent quarters, Americans have been experiencing record high levels of personal financial satisfaction thanks in large part to a surging bull market. Whereas personal taxes have been the largest contributor to financial pain for seven quarters in a row. Now, after the stock market’s recent decline and with the new tax law in effect, the PFSi will provide an empirical measure of how the average American is feeling about their finances in these dynamic times.

In addition, the AICPA will be releasing new data from Harris Poll which questions Americans about their personal financial satisfaction levels.

Two Component Indices: Positive & Negative

The PFSi weighs a variety of economic factors to calculate the personal financial satisfaction of a typical American. Using both proprietary and normalized U.S. government data, the PFSi is comprised of two component indices that measure positive (Personal Financial Pleasure) and negative (Personal Financial Pain) factors equally. As a point of comparison, the University of Michigan’s monthly Consumer Sentiment Survey, questions American households on their financial conditions and attitudes about the economy.

Pleasure factors include the proprietary PFS 750 Market Index, comprised of the 750 largest companies by market capitalization trading on the U.S. market, excluding mutual funds and ETFs. The additional components are the AICPA’s CPA Outlook Index, as well as Real Home Equity Per Capita and Job Openings Per Capita. Pain factors include inflation, personal taxes, loan delinquencies and underemployment.

Additional information on the PFSi can be found at: AICPA.org/PFSi.

Methodology
The Personal Financial Satisfaction Index (PFSi) is the result of two component sub-indexes. It is calculated as the difference between the Personal Financial Pleasure Index and the Personal Financial Pain Index. These are comprised of four equally weighted factors, each of which measure the growth of assets and opportunities, in the case of the Pleasure Index, and the erosion of assets and opportunities, in the case of the Pain Index.

This quarter’s release is the first time the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been felt in the index

About the AICPA’s PFP Division
The AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Section is the premier provider of information, tools, advocacy, and guidance for CPAs who specialize in providing estate, tax, retirement, risk management, and investment planning advice to individuals, families, and business owners. The primary objective of the PFP Section is to support its members by providing resources that enable them to perform valuable PFP services in the highest professional manner.

CPA financial planners are held to the highest ethical standards and are uniquely able to integrate their extensive knowledge of tax and business planning with all areas of personal financial planning to provide objective and comprehensive guidance for their clients. The AICPA offers the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential exclusively to CPAs who have demonstrated their expertise in personal financial planning through testing, experience and learning, enabling them to gain competence and confidence in PFP disciplines.

About the American Institute of CPAs
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, with more than 418,000 members in 143 countries, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for its members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, offers specialized credentials, builds the pipeline of future talent and drives professional competency development to advance the vitality, relevance and quality of the profession.

The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and Ewing, NJ.

About the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association) is the most influential body of professional accountants, combining the strengths of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to power opportunity, trust and prosperity for people, businesses and economies worldwide. It represents 650,000 members and students in public and management accounting and advocates for the public interest and business sustainability on current and emerging issues. With broad reach, rigor and resources, the Association advances the reputation, employability and quality of CPAs, CGMAs and accounting and finance professionals globally.