One of my favorite board games growing up was Risk. In that game you place armies on territories and then battle opposing players for world domination. The game strategy has some important lessons for risk taking. In the game, if you are able to take over a continent, it’s important to position plenty of armies at the entry point of your continent to protect it from invaders (defense). But if you simply pile up armies in a single area, you will lose the game because other players eventually build up enough armies to invade your territory and destroy you. You have to play both defense and offense in war and also in life.
I represented the mother of a 10 year old boy who received a multi-million dollar lawsuit settlement. She was terrified of the stock market so she directed the bank corporate co-guardian to hold all the money in CDs. Eventually, I convinced her (along with the trust officer and judge) that it was not prudent to hold a large amount of cash for 8 years or longer. The boy’s money was invested in a professionally managed investment portfolio.
On the legal and economic battlefield it’s critical to not only build assets and defend them but also to deploy some of those assets offensively. The very rich are doing it right now, spending billions of dollars on lobbyists, high priced lawyers and sophisticated investment advisors. Jeffrey Winters (author of the book “Oligarchy”) calls it the “wealth defense industry”. Fortunately, if you have moderate wealth you only need a good, basic estate plan along with common sense investment and insurance advice. Make sure there’s both defense and offense in your Estate Planning War Chest.