Client Outreach: A Business Primer for College Grads
If you have clients who just celebrated a child’s college graduation, now is a great time to bond with the new graduate—who is your NextGen client. After taking this approach to reaching out with some financial guidance, it’s time to take the next step by offering some sage advice about how to survive—and thrive—in the workplace.
Whether you send the information in an email (direct to the new grad!) or schedule a face-to-face meeting, offer these business tips and leave the door open for questions, today and in the future. Supporting their early success in the workplace is a great way to position yourself as a trusted advisor from the very start—and set the stage for your newest client’s sound financial future.
The move from the classroom to the boardroom is quite a shift! Unless you’ve spent your summers interning, this may be the first time you’ve entered the business community. Just like any new adventure, it’s smart to learn the lay of the land before you begin—both to avoid any missteps and to be sure you’re putting you best foot forward from day one. Here are three tips that I wish I’d known starting out. I hope they serve you well!
Network. And network some more.
By now you probably have your LinkedIn profile up and running, but whether you’ve already found a new job or not, it’s a good idea to have someone in your chosen field to review it and offer recommendations for improvements. Every industry is different, and whether it means knowing how to list your experience or which groups to join, someone who understands any industry-specific nuances can help tremendously. Of course, don’t limit networking to online activities. Check out Andrea Nierenberg’s latest book, Savvy Networking: 118 Fast & Effective Tips for Business Success, for daily tips for effective networking in all types of businesses—from manufacturing to financial services, from technology companies to retailers. And take her advice: make networking a vital part of your personal business plan.
Present your best self—every day.
Image isn’t everything, but in business, it communicates a lot to your colleagues and, if you’re in a client-facing position, your customers. Jeans and a t-shirt may have
been your wardrobe for the past four years, but now is the time to invest in a functional, professional wardrobe that aligns with your new office culture. Feeling wardrobe challenged? A personal shopper can help you put together a great set of pieces that work together at fraction of the price of doing it yourself. Looking professional is often perceived as being professional, so err on the side of overdressing—at least until you’ve impressed the office with your skills!
Own your mistakes.
Ask any successful professional how they learned this lesson, and they will surely have a story to tell! It’s rarely easy to admit when you’ve done something wrong. It’s even more difficult in a work environment where your focus is to do everything as right as possible. But mistakes happen, and when you do mess up, the best thing you can do (really!) is to go straight to the person who is affected and tell the truth. Someone told me years ago that “bosses never like surprises.” Never let your boss—or anyone—learn about your mistakes from someone else. Instead, earn a reputation for being open about your failures and you’ll find your successes are much more respected as well.
I could go on and on about my own experiences, and I’ve learned many lessons (personal and financial) from some fantastic teachers, colleagues, family, and mentors. I’m happy to share more if you’re interested. In the mean time, I urge you to go ask as many people as you can to share their own experiences. Just like in college, asking for help is never a bad thing. In fact, I can’t think of anyone I know who wouldn’t be happy to offer advice. Once you’ve heard what they have to say, note what feels right to you and let the rest go. You’ll walk away with new knowledge that may help smooth your own path into the business world—and the confidence you need to succeed.
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The information and opinions herein are for general information use only. The opinions reflect those of the writers but not necessarily those of New York Life Investment Management LLC (NYLIM). NYLIM does not guarantee their accuracy or completeness, nor does New York Life Investment Management LLC assume any liability for any loss that may result from the reliance by any person upon any such information or opinions. Such information and opinions are subject to change without notice and are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security or as personalized investment advice.
Here’s Why Bitcoin Won’t Replace Gold So Easily
What a week it was.
First and foremost, I’d like to acknowledge the horrific mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas, the deadliest in modern American history. On behalf of everyone at U.S. Global Investors, I extend my sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families.
The memory of the shooting was still fresh in people’s minds during last Tuesday’s Hollywood premiere of Blade Runner 2049, which nixed the usual red carpet and other glitz in light of the tragedy. Before the film, producers shared poignant words, saying that in times such as these, the arts are crucial now more than ever.
I had the distinct privilege to attend the premiere. My good friend Frank Giustra, whose production company Thunderbird Entertainment owns a stake in the Blade Runner franchise, was kind enough to invite me along. Despite the somber mood—a pivotal scene in the film even takes place in an irradiated Las Vegas—I thought Blade Runner 2049 was spectacular. Even if you’re not a fan of the original 1982 film, it’s still worth experiencing in theaters. Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch’s synth-heavy score is especially haunting.
CNET recently published an interesting piece examining the accuracy of future tech as depicted in the original Blade Runner, from androids to flying cars to off-world travel read the article here.
Still in the Early Innings of Cryptocurrencies
Speaking of the future, I spoke on the topic of the blockchain last week at the Subscriber Investment Summit in Vancouver. My presentation focused on the future of mining—not just of gold and precious metals but also cryptocurrencies.
Believe it or not, there are upwards of 2,100 digital currencies being traded in the world right now, with a combined market cap of nearly $150 billion, according to Coinranking.com.
Obviously not all of these cryptos will survive. We’re still in the early innings. Last month I compared this exciting new digital world to the earliest days of the dotcom era, and just as there were winners and losers then, so too will there be winners and losers today. Although bitcoin and Ethereum appear to be the frontrunners right now, recall that only 20 years ago AOL and Yahoo! were poised to dominate the internet. How times have changed!
It will be interesting to see which coins emerge as the “Amazon” and “Google” of cryptocurrencies.
For now, Ethereum has some huge backers. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), according to its website, seeks to “learn from and build upon the only smart contract supporting blockchain currently running in real-world production—Ethereum.” The EEA includes several big-name financial and tech firms such as Credit Suisse, Intel, Microsoft and JPMorgan Chase, whose own CEO, Jamie Dimon, knocked cryptos a couple of weeks ago.
To learn more about the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, watch this engaging two-minute video.
Will Bitcoin Replace Gold?
Lately I’ve been seeing more and more headlines asking whether cryptos are “killing” gold. Would the gold price be higher today if massive amounts of money weren’t flowing into bitcoin? Both assets, after all, are sometimes favored as safe havens. They’re decentralized and accepted all over the world, 24 hours a day. Transactions are anonymous. Supply is limited.
But I don’t think for a second that cryptocurrencies will ever replace gold, for a number of reasons. For one, cryptos are strictly forms of currency, whereas gold has many other time-tested applications, from jewelry to dentistry to electronics.
Unlike cryptos, gold doesn’t require electricity to trade. This makes it especially useful in situations such as hurricane-ravished Puerto Rico, where 95 percent of people are reportedly still without power. Right now the island’s economy is cash-only. If you have gold jewelry or coins, they can be converted into cash—all without electricity or WiFi.
Finally, gold remains one of the most liquid assets, traded daily in well-established exchanges all around the globe. Every day, some £13.8 billion, or $18 billion, worth of physical gold are traded in London alone, according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). The cryptocurrency market, although expanding rapidly, is not quite there yet.
I will admit, though, that bitcoin is energizing some investors, especially millennials, in ways that gold might have a hard time doing. The proof is all over the internet. You can find a number of TED Talks on bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, but to my knowledge, none is available on gold investing. YouTube is likewise bursting at the seams with videos on cryptos.
Bitcoin is up 350 percent for the year, Ethereum an unbelievable 3,600 percent. Gold, meanwhile, is up around 10 percent. Producers, as measured by the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, have gained 11.5 percent in 2017, 23 percent since its 52-week low in December 2016.
Look Past the Negativity to Find the Good News
The news is filled with negative headlines, and sometimes it’s challenging to stay positive. Take Friday’s jobs report. It showed that the U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September, the first month in seven years that this happened. A weak report was expected because of Hurricane Irma, but no one could have guessed the losses would be this deep.
The jobs report wasn’t all bad news, however. For one, the decline is very likely temporary. Beyond that, a record 4.88 million Americans who were previously sitting out of the labor force found work last month. This helped the unemployment rate fall to 4.2 percent, a 16-year low.
There’s more that supports a stronger U.S. economy. As I shared with you last week, the Manufacturing ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to a 13-year high in September, indicating rapid expansion in the manufacturing industry. Factory orders were up during the month. Auto sales were up. Oil has stayed in the relatively low $50-a-barrel range, which is good for transportation and industrials, especially airlines. Small-cap stocks, as measured by the Russell 2000 Index, continue to climb above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages as excitement over tax reform intensifies.
These are among the reasons why I remain bullish.
One final note: Speaking on tax reform, Warren Buffett told CNBC last week that he’s waiting to sell assets until he knows the plan will go through. “I would feel kind of silly if I realized $1 billion worth of gains and paid $350 million in tax on it if I just waited a few months and would have paid $250 million,” he said.
It’s a fair comment, and I imagine other like-minded, forward-thinking investors, buyers and sellers will also wait to make huge transactions if they can help it. Tax reform isn’t a done deal, but I think it has a much better chance of being signed into law than a health care overhaul.
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