The Procrastinator’s Doctrine

Over the past week I have spoken to a few existing and potential clients who still seem reluctant to ‘pull the trigger’ on completing their own asset protection plan.

Yesterday, I spoke to a woman who mentioned that she realizes it is something she needs to do, but is struggling with the idea of spending the money on a service with no intangible product and no immediate

I absolutely agree. It’s difficult to write the check when you have no pending litigation and no immediate threat. After all, there is always tomorrow to get that done. Today I want to address the importance of getting it done.

Sigmund Freud would have called this the ‘pleasure principle’. This idea was originated by Freud in modern psychoanalysis, although Aristotle touched on it hundreds of years earlier in his ‘Rhetoric’;
“We may lay it down that pleasure is a movement, a movement by which the soul as a whole is consciously brought into its normal state of being; and that Pain is the opposite’.

Essentially Freud and Aristotle are saying that we make our choices based on the immediate gratification of needs and the immediate avoidance of pain.

This could also be called the ‘procrastinator’s doctrine’ (I made that up myself).

I find this every week when dealing with existing or potential clients, both from a pleasure and a pain perspective. Frequently I get calls from people who are being sued and want to know what they need to do to protect their assets – avoidance of immediate pain.

Unfortunately, in most cases they are too late. These people are in jeopardy of violating fraudulent conveyance laws. Fraudulent conveyance is a civil cause of action brought on by creditors against the debtor who has attempted to transfer assets out of his name to avoid financial loss.

The most common fraudulent conveyance is to family members and friends. I cannot tell you the number of times I have spoken to people who said, “I don’t have to worry about my investment portfolio; I transferred that into my wife’s name” or “I moved all of my investment properties into my father’s name.”

In fact, you do have to worry. This is the easiest form of ‘asset protection’ to unwind. The courts can easily grab those assets from your wife or father just as if they were yours, which in fact they are.
The flip side to this equation is that people are reluctant to take the necessary steps to develop their own asset protection plan because of the immediate pain of spending the money and the time involved – again avoidance of immediate pain.

Of course there is no immediate gratification to asset protection planning. It is completely counterintuitive to Freud and Aristotle’s ‘pleasure principle’.

However, Freud also constructed the idea of the ‘reality principle’. This is the psychoanalytic concept that describes the circumstantial reality that compels a man to defer this immediate gratification.

Freud proposed that, “an ego thus educated has become reasonable”. In other words, with maturity we no longer let the ‘pleasure principle’ guide our immediate actions, but take account of reality and realize we must sometimes postpone immediate pleasure for more long lasting positive outcomes.

This is akin to buying health insurance. You pay your monthly premiums and yet you receive no immediate pleasure from the purchase. And you certainly don’t wait until your doctor tells you about your malignant brain tumor to call Blue Cross for a policy quote.
As we mature, we realize that we must do things now that benefit us in the future. Asset protection planning is like health insurance. It gives you peace of mind knowing your assets have been placed within a veil of privacy keeping the wolves at bay.

If you have assets you cannot afford to lose, you need asset protection planning; plain and simple. The world is in turmoil and the risks are numerous.

You cannot read the news and watch the world markets over the past few weeks and not think we are living in the ‘Great Reset’. With political unrest still going strong in Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and most of the rest of the Middle East, you must realize the world is changing underneath our feet.

Japan has a debt to GDP ratio over 200%, and now much of the country is in shambles. Japan is the 3rd largest economy in the world and the 4th largest exporter in the world. With a debt burden already so high, how can they afford to rebuild? This will have significant long term implications.

Europe has gone quiet over the past few weeks due to difficulty in competing with Libya and Japan for headlines, but their problems have not vanished. Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Greece are all train wrecks and Germany is tired of bailing them out. We will see the end of the European Union as it currently stands.

The US debt has now grown to over $55,000,000,000,000 (that’s 55 trillion dollars; I just used the zeros for effect). That is nearly $700,000 per family. The Federal Reserve is now the largest holder of US debt, and growing. We no longer have enough outside creditors willing to loan us the money to continue our free spending ways.

So where will the money come from to fund the US government?

• Raise taxes – it’s a guarantee
• Large US corporations – this will happen, but will have a negative impact on small business because it will tie up bank capital
• Default – not likely, too easy to print money
• 401k/IRA accounts – I see this as a likely response. The government is already considering this option under the guise that they are offering the people safe retirement savings to prevent the ‘evil’ corporations from robbing us again. Most likely this will result in legislation that mandates a percentage of US based retirement funds to be held in US treasuries. There’s nothing like having the ability to legislate your own demand…
• QE3-16 – I would bet money we will see another round, or 12, of money printing after the June expiration of the current QE2. This is the easiest and most politically feasible action for the policymakers to take

All of the above items are game changers in the world economy. If you think these things have nothing to do with you and have no impact on your life, think again. What are you doing to protect your own future?

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