"Instead of one day of presents, we get eight crazy nights!" Comedian Adam Sandler’s kitschy “Hanukkah Song” does a good job of explaining the difference between Christmas and Hanukkah to a largely gentile American populace. He also runs through a list of celebrities who will take kosher wine and matzo this holiday season−Ann Landers, Goldie Hawn, Arthur Fonzarelli, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen (not Jewish, but "[Sandler's] mother thinks he is.”)
In celebration of the annual Festival of Lights, which began Wednesday night, we offer up eight advisor wishes for 2011. Look for advisor “naughty-and-nice” lists in coming weeks.
No. 1: The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
We begin on a decidedly non-Jewish note, since the famous parable comes from the New Testament, but the sentiment translates nonetheless. Were he alive today, the tax collector wouldn’t ask God for mercy. Like the rest of us, he’d ask for clarification of the tax code. Whether it’s the income tax or AMT, a Roth conversion or sticking with tradition, rules, rates, codes and percentages are all up in the air. Pray for a Hanukkah, Christmas, Festivus miracle—that something happens before Jan. 1, 5758, I mean, 2011.
No. 2: Leviticus and the Obama Care Lepers
Governmental overreach causes rebellion. Do we mean AD 66 or AD 2010? We’ll leave it to you to decide, but it’s a major theme this holiday season. Advisors are saddled with issues related to health care reform: reporting, cost, eligibility, pre-existing conditions, waivers, penalties, medical supplements, prescriptions, its impact on HSAs, HRAs, deductibles, patient choice. Answers to these questions have so far been—well, bupkis.
No. 3: Portia Hearts Bassanio, Shylock Still Evil
William Shakespeare’s masterpiece of anti-Semitic stereotypes reminds us that trial lawyers are still on our trail. Class action suits that arise from simple market losses; supposedly “unsuitable” investment vehicles that were included in the IPS in bright, bold letters (of which the client signed); no clear guidance from FINRA that results in “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” sanctions. A little more inebriation and a little less litigation would be nice this holiday season.
No. 4: A Maccabean Revolt