With tax day approaching, finances may be on Americans’ minds more than usual. Of course, there is much more to finances than simply paying taxes. Financial planning is a huge part of personal accounting, so CivicScience asked more than 2,500 U.S. adults about their financial planning and budgeting experiences. 

As the data show, for the majority of respondents, financial expertise were self-taught or simply gained by experience.

Given the lack of professional experience with the world of financial planning (4%), it makes sense that the majority of respondents have not worked with a financial planner. However, 23% have done so and found the experience helpful.  

When it comes to creating a budget, 24% of Americans do in fact follow their financial plan very closely, with 39% following theirs somewhat. However, lower-income adults are the most likely to not have a spending budget, while higher-income adults are the most likely to ignore theirs. 

Current Spending Trends 

As it stands, 36% of U.S. adults are having difficulty spending money right now. This percentage has been on a steady incline since the end of last year.

The difficulty with spending money that many Americans are currently facing may be one of the reasons that 68% of respondents reported that they are managing their money well (because they aren’t spending as much of it). Perhaps not surprisingly, those who are older (and richer) also express higher approval of how they manage their finances. 

Those who say they manage their money badly are significantly more likely than good money-managers to say they are very concerned about inflation in the U.S, as well as the rising costs of household goods.

Money Well Spent 

Interestingly, those who say they manage their money well and those who say they manage it poorly end up splurging on themselves equally.

Regardless of how someone manages their spending, it appears that they are more likely to keep buying what they need even if they’ve noticed higher prices. This is predominantly the case for those who are not good with managing their finances.

It’s clear that concern about the economy has made spending in general more difficult for consumers, but that with some encouragement or motivation, this could change.