This blog is now entering its third year of weekly observations on economics and the philosophy of estate planning. The goal is to keep readers secure and informed of the battlefield landscape. Personal responsibility, strength and other virtues are becoming rarer qualities in the U.S. Only the top 20 or 30 percent of families have sufficient assets and awareness of the bloody conflict. Economic winners and losers are now fixed across generations. The birth lottery drawing has already occurred. There is very little social mobility in the U.S. today due to a variety of factors. Here’s a recent article on the topic:
Whether the lack of mobility is bad (worse than you think), or comforting (in the sense of knowing that you are in a good battle position) depends on your wealth level. It’s bad that mobility is low if you are on bottom – but good if you’re on top (good for your family, not a good social ideal to be pursued). Your family’s wealth war posture is cemented in a dominant, secure position. Institutions like government and political parties are deconstructing and becoming less relevant to a family’s economic success. Progressive socialist ideas cannot change the brutal nature of economic reality and they make it worse by trying.
In fact, the culture wars are making it much worse. National Review recently posted 3 articles about the disturbing phenomenon of millions of men quietly self-emasculating.
Every week I have a client sign a will or living trust providing for a child or other relative who is unable or unwilling to support themselves. It’s as if the virtues of self-reliance and self-improvement are fading away. In addition to the sad masses of people born into poverty, we now have a huge segment of the population who are just giving up – casualties of the economic war. The financially inert have to be taken care of by someone (or something – which is why the expanding welfare state is enabling the phenomenon).
Well, I’m happy to report that there are plenty of strong humans who have war chests packed with physical fitness, cognitive strength, financial security and most importantly, personal ideals that value a strong work ethic, thrift and the importance of financially supporting oneself and one’s family. Be grateful for a personal war chest – bestowed from family values and money, reinforced by personal integrity and hard work. Happy 2nd Birthday to the Estate Planning War Chest!