St. Patrick's day. The Morning after. I woke up to a message on my tablet.
Apparently, I had sold thousands of dollars worth of Ebix stock. With a hungover moan I rolled back to sleep.
There are many things to do during the early hours in Singapore. Trading is not one of mine.
My best guess? Someone hacked my account.
After a change of passwords, the proceeds of the sale still lay in my account. I flagged up the breach of security and was ready for a bagel and espresso.
Death, Taxes and ...
Turns out only a fax machine, and liquidation levy warrant is required to (h)access an account - when you are the NY Tax Department.
There are few certainties in life. (May I submit that investment management fees are among them?)
Taxes are enforced by the legal system and in extreme cases the military.
Management fees are more subtle. Willingly signed off on by the investor and usually never explicitly referred to afterwards.
At least paying taxes brings the warm feeling of contributing to a new aircraft carrier.
Fees, on the other hand help with the downpayments someone else's Bentley.
No one in the asset management industry will ever give you a credible promise in return for your cash.
Certainty is valuable. The industry will never hand over something as simple as certainty; instead they'll hand wave and blind you with science.
Lowering fees (and taxes) is the smartest and most straightforward way of ensuring good returns.
Not only are you saving on fees, but you are using the best indicator for performant funds.
The Empire Strikes Back
As for my thousands of dollars?
The Empire State was founded in 1788, just before the tax levy law of 1791. Before there was even a democratic English vocabulary to write this draconian law!
I figured this would be an uphill battle and prepared for the worst.
But when I rang up the tax department they found the missing return within minutes and were extremely helpful.
There are so many uncertainties in life (such as large erroneous bills and market crashes) best to ignore them and worry about what you can directly improve right now.