Ben Frankin was, without question, a man of wisdom. He was right about many things, but one area in which I must respectfully disagree with the sage is his insistence that the only certainties in this life are death and taxes. Of course, taxes and death are hard to avoid, but there are also other things in life that we will most definitely not evade. In this last of an 18 blog series on the subject matter contained in the book I co-authored with best-selling author, Jim Stovall, we address another one of those certainties and the steps that one must take to adapt and thrive in the face of it.
From The Financial Crossroads, Chapter 18, “Your Story, Your Plan”:
We have made reference in other parts of the book to the oft quoted phrase about death and taxes. I enjoy history, so I had to trace its origin. It appears that Daniel Defoe, in 1726, was the first to make this now famous claim, albeit more eloquently: “Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed.” Much closer to the modern day phrase, however, was Ben Franklin’s redux in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1789, in which he said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Regardless of the veracity of this line of thought, I find it all quite depressing. But I do think that we could turn this into a phrase in which we’d all agree: One guarantee in this world is change.
Do you embrace, reject, resist or retreat from change? The fact that you purchased this book tells me you probably don’t reject it. That you read this far tells me you probably don’t resist it. The question now, however, is whether you will embrace it or retreat from it. The easier path is to retreat, because as Arnold Bennett tells us, “even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” Regarding the intersection of money and life, there are two different types of change: fundamental change and practical change. In a perfect world, fundamental change happens first and practical change follows almost effortlessly. But fundamental change does not always come easily. Often times, practical change precedes fundamental change as we allow a discipline to shape our view fundamentally.
A fundamental change is seeing the world as a risk manager; practical change is altering your insurance policies. Fundamental change is shifting from a retirement plan to a fulfillment plan; practical change is taking degree or certificate college courses that could lead to a job change. Fundamental change is seeing your estate plan as a legacy plan; practical change is updating your will.
Practical change is cutting up the credit cards, your path to more; fundamental change is genuine contentment with enough. Practical change is beginning a giving program; fundamental change is having less of an attachment to material things. Practical change is writing your Personal Money Story; fundamental change is realizing its significance. Practical change is dealing with the dollars and cents in life; fundamental change is life itself.