Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, O’henry’s Full House, A Christmas Carol and many other such movies of make believe and fantasy have led us to believe that December is the time for miracles to happen. That, suddenly, in the blink of an eye, that lifelong problems can be solved. A miser turns generous, the house is saved from foreclosure, the unaffordable golden hair clip is purchased. Those fantasies have fooled us and they betray our reality unfortunately.
No, I’m not bah, humbug! But I am a practical advisor who understand that trying to resolve all of my client’s yearlong ( r lifelong) lack of tax planning in a thoughtful, low risk, reasonable way in the last weeks of December is an exercise in frustration and futility. This ain’t Hollywood, honey. And, while there are CLATs and PIFs and Oil and Gas and Conservation Easements and you name it other things, why did you freakin’ wait until now to assess and weigh and analyze what’s best? The end of the year comes at just about the same time every year as far as I know. And, while I enjoyed the extra nap time in July and September, I have to tell you that this December behavior is just stupid.
Too much pressure on clients to make decisions is not good for building long term relationships. Yes, you may be pulling a thorn out of someone’s paw and finding one loyal friend, but you may just as likely cause and infection.
So, advisors, get your acts together. Start doing 2021 tax planning in January. Ask your client’s what they’re expecting for the year. Ask about bonuses, liquidity events and all of the other questions that help you anticipate what things will look like way before December rolls around. Discuss various strategies and solutions for 2021 NOW. Not eleven months from now. Planning means planning, not reacting. It’s in your job description.
Looking for ideas to help your clients in thinking ahead? Contact Two Hawks Consulting today!