" It's not whether you're right or wrong that's important, but how much money you make when you're right and how much you lose when you're wrong" - George Soros
I recollected this saying when an investor told me that he always invested in right investments at the right time. I acknowledged his prudent nature, but felt that he and many other financially prudent persons needed to know that they also required to regularly review their investments to eliminate non-productive ones for productive and paying ones.
Wealth management is all about making money work best for you.
George Soros's lessons of prudent wealth management lie in not allowing your investment to depreciate (fall in value).This involves being ready toleave your comfort zone and revise your investment decision with the right attitude of being proud of the right investment and at the same time not being disgraced or regretful in making revisions or corrections in decisions already made.
Review your investments with the current outlook
Most of us make investments that are based on the information available to us at a given point in time. But it is important to know that with times the profitability or loss of an investment could change. It definitely proves useful to review and revise our decisions when we find that we are holding on to something that no one would buy or invest in now.
It is right that it is human to make mistakes, but holding on to a mistake just for emotional reasons cannot be pardoned. Subsequent events might alter the attractiveness of the investment.
Should we be possessive in our attachment to those investments for which the outlook has changed now? So I would say that if you need to create wealth and manage it, there is nothing wrong in being a fair weather friend; investments have to work for you and not accomplishing this goal means getting out of these investments for better avenues.
Do I need to book losses when the market is falling?
However I wish to be excused when I say it is not good to sell when the prices on the whole have fallen down. However it is again important to believe that poor stocks would surely be losing more than good ones; fall in price just does not indicate a downturn, it is a combination of various factors like production, sales and profits also; so poor stocks or small companies may find it difficult to recoup even when we experience favorable times in the market.
Again during the fall in the market it is common for us to see that even good stocks may be available at a discount. I would say such times are ideal to liquidate poor performing stocks that are not doing well and purchase good stocks.
Why should you book loss?
Booking losses in poor performing investments has got some advantages. So as to quit the poor performing investments, you are forced to quit your ego and admit that you have made a wrong investment decision.
As you admit your mistake, you learn a lesson. As you learn a lesson you do not take similar wrong investment decisions in the future.
The advantage of booking losses is you move out of poor performing investments and moving into better performing investments. So you will be able to recover your losses faster.
How to Get Tax Gains from Your Losses in Shares
However, tax laws allow setting off of losses against gains in the same category, based on different criteria. If an income is tax-exempt, it however cannot be adjusted against any loss from an income that is taxable. For tax computation, profit or losses in shares are clubbed under the head of capital gains.
If an investor has held shares for less than 12 months from the date of buying, then the resulting loss on its transaction on stock exchanges, if any, is termed as short-term capital loss (STCL).
This loss can be adjusted against the short-term capital gain (STCG) or long-term capital gain (LTCG) from shares, if any, thus lowering the tax outgo. Short-term capital gains from equities are taxed at 15 per cent. (If an investor has held shares for more than 12 months, then the resulting gain/loss is termed long-term capital gain/loss.)
If the short-term loss cannot be set off in the same fiscal, then the balance can be carried forward to subsequent eight years. In each of these, the said short-term losses can be set-off against short-term capital gain (STCG) or long-term capital gain, if any.
To reduce outgo, many investors set off gains made from equities in the fiscal against losses occurred in same year or previous year. They book losses, if any, on existing holdings and then later repurchase the stock to keep their holdings intact.
For example, an investor has already booked short-term profit (by selling within 12 months) of Rs. 10,000 in some stocks. At the same time, the investor is sitting on un-realized loss of Rs. 4,000 in some other stocks.
In that case, the investor has to pay short-term capital gains tax at 15 per cent on Rs. 10,000 profit. To reduce short-term capital gains tax liability, the investor can sell the stock on which he is incurring Rs. 4,000 of losses. In that case, the investor's has to pay tax on Rs. 6,000 (Rs. 10,000 - Rs. 4,000), not Rs. 10,000. To keep his holding intact, the investor can later repurchase the stock.
However, long-term capital losses on shares can only be set off against long-term capital gains, if any. Further, any long-term capital losses that cannot be set off against long-term capital gains arising in the same fiscal can be carried forward to subsequent eight years.
Disclaimer: "Investors are advised to make their own assessment and counter checks before acting on the information. - Tax Rules are subject to changes "