We’re getting close to the end of the year, which means mutual funds will be declaring and distributing capital gains. Earlier this year, the prospect of capital gains was minimal, but with the resurgence of the stock market, it is an issue to consider. Also, when the market was struggling, I sold some funds to capture capital losses in anticipation of the day when it would rebound. It seems today is that day. In addition, I plan to ask clients about any capital loss carryforwards they may have from previous years. These two issues also present a prime opportunity to reduce the total number of funds under my purview. A few months ago, I had 98, today I have 88. Eventually, I’d like to get this down to fewer than 50. Since capital gains season is approaching and the market has risen over 50% from March 9th, it seems to be a good time for this.
Last week I had a new client ask me to help him with some important decisions pertaining to retirement. Specifically, he asked me to attend a meeting and advise him on the best course of action. Once again, I am reminded why I am in this business. It’s not just about investing money. It’s about being there for the client when they have decisions to make. It’s about simplifying their lives, and one way that can be accomplished is through consolidating their investment holdings.
When I was new to the financial services business more than 20 years ago. I recall being nervous that some clients might know more than I knew. After all, I was the new guy on the block and lacked the experience of the seasoned veterans. Perhaps this is one of the motivating factors behind my placing such a high value on learning. Perhaps my desire to learn was born out of fear? Fear is a key motivator. In any event, as we encounter clients with unique circumstances it forces us to read and learn, and when we do we add value to the client relationship. We’re in the question-answering business. Since we cannot possibly hold the answers to every question we may encounter, it pays to have a good resource handy.
I’d be interested to know what you resources you use to research various issues on taxes, estate laws, and other complicated topics that you may not deal with every day.