Winston Churchill was one of the greatest wartime leaders humanity has ever known. He is often quoted for his highly pertinent thoughts on a variety of topics, particularly human conflict and struggle. Economic viability in today’s hostile world is not as easy as it once was – it now requires more effort, thought and resources – more persistence, intelligence and strength.
There’s a saying in sports: “the strong defeat the weak but the smart defeat the strong”. You need both – strength and intelligence, which are purposefully acquired over time through focused effort and persistence. Military and sports analogies underscore the fighting nature of thriving economically. Thomas Hobbes reasoned that the condition of man is the condition of war, everyone against everyone. Life’s not a cakewalk – if you treat it like one, you’ll get your ass kicked.
Strength, from an estate planning standpoint, is the magnitude of your financial resources. And that’s very much a function of time. My younger clients haven’t had time to build a lot of wealth. But they are persistently working at it. And they are smart about locking in what they build as they go; like a mountain climber securing carabiners into ever higher safety lines. Young families purchase plenty of term life insurance and execute basic Will based estate planning documents. As my clients age, their wealth grows. There’s more at stake and they’re statistically closer to something bad happening (death, disability, financial loss, etc.). Older, wealthier clients use living trusts.
Intelligence, from an estate planning standpoint, is awareness of risk and the courage to do something about it. Opening one’s eyes to what’s happening is difficult (these are troubled times, it’s a vicious economic war – most people close their eyes, cover their ears and sing ‘la la la la la…’). Facing mortality and securing what you’ve built with appropriate insurance, investment and legal advice takes intelligence – not raw IQ, but rather situational awareness and execution. Your Estate Planning War Chest contains financial strength and legal intelligence, both built over time with persistence – which, as Churchill believed, is the key to unlocking human potential.