AICPA examines American's investing habits.

Position:American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Faced with a turbulent stock market, rising energy prices and other signs of an economy in flux, Americans are increasingly worried about their finances. And though individual investors admit to financial planners' expertise, few consult one. So says a new survey the AICPA commissioned to better understand how Americans manage their money.

The survey "Report on America's Financial Health," was conducted by Harris Interactive, an Internet-based market research firm, for the AICPA personal financial specialist examination committee in September and October of 2000. It polled 636 Americans ages 18 to over 55 with annual income of more than $75,000.

Almost all respondents (91%) said they manage their finances themselves--doing their own research and obtaining advice from family, friends, the Internet or a broker. CPA/PFS practitioners may see potential market opportunities in this and the survey's other findings.

For example, the survey revealed that almost three out of every four respondents (71%) have been thinking more about their finances in the last two years. But only 20% thought they were "very prepared" for retirement. Others were uncertain about their financial future; 81% were not sure their investments were earning as much as possible and 57% were not certain they knew how to minimize their taxes through proper planning.

The survey also revealed that even individuals who felt confident...

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