Spring Cleaning For Your Financial Practice

Ahhhh, spring. For many of us, the warmer weather is welcome after an exceptionally cold, gray and overly blah winter. As we throw open the windows, our thoughts turn to that common ritual of March and April: spring cleaning.

While we typically think of spring cleaning for our physical environment, it’s also a good idea for advisors to do some spring cleaning of their own, both for their firm and for their clients. Below are eight things you can do to take advantage of spring cleaning in your financial practice:

  1. Get in front of RMDs. Review your client reports to see who’s turning 70 ½ this year and make a note to prepare paperwork set them up on automatic RMD programs at their next review. Don’t put it off until December; you’ll risk missing it in the end-of-year shuffle.
  2. Look for portfolios that need rebalancing. At the end of the year, you may have sold some investments to allow clients to harvest capital losses. Review client portfolios and make sure to identify where clients might benefit from rebalancing.
  3. Collect a copy of your clients’ tax returns. Request that your clients submit a copy of their tax return via mail or secure upload while it’s fresh on their mind. You’ll have the return available at their next review, ready for you to analyze and identify any opportunities in their tax planning strategy.
  4. Provide some education direction. Review your client list to see who has a high school junior or senior. Let them know how they can make withdrawals on 529 and college savings plans as they start to make payments for the next school year.
  5. Assist clients in cleaning up their personal financial files. Assist clients with setting up paperless delivery of statements and account information, if they haven’t done so already.
  6. Do some housekeeping of your own. Are your electronic and hard copy client files in order? Make sure they’re organized for easy access. If you keep paper files, shred outdated account statements.
  7. Review print and web materials. Is your marketing literature current? Review for accuracy and make a list of any pieces that need to be updated or revised.
  8. Host a shredding event. Help clients keep their financial information secure by renting an industrial shredder for safe destruction. This could be an afternoon event in the parking lot of your office.
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