My mother was born in the 30s. Her childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood were influenced by the societal norms, culture, and vernacular of the 40s and 50s. She and my dad brought dozens of phrases from the 40s and 50s with them well into the 21st century. Amongst her extensive list of odd phrases was, “you’re just too smart by half”. This phrase perplexed me for years; how can someone be “too smart (i.e. exceedingly smart)” while simultaneously only being “smart by half” (i.e. only half as smart as they should be). One day my curiosity got the best of me and I mustered the courage to ask my mom why she kept telling me I was “too smart by half”. Her eyes brightened as she took full advantage of that teachable moment.
She said something along the lines of, “well son, you’re very smart. The trouble with that is you ‘know it’. That can be a true blessing, or can be a bad thing.” At this point I’m really confused – why would being “very smart” be a bad thing? She sensed my confusion and explained the second part of the phrase “by half”. She continued, “yes, you’re very smart, but only half as smart as you think you are”. “You think you have everything figured out but often times you don’t; and when someone is flat-out wrong but is too prideful to see or admit they’re wrong they usually wind-up making big mistakes”.
I have thought about this phrase and my mother’s counsel many times over the years. The phrase finally hit home some 20+ years ago when I was a father of a daughter who played the title role of Peter Pan in the musical adaptation. There’s a line in the play where Peter boasts to Wendy, “Oh I’m clever! Oh, the cleverness of me…”. The first time I heard this line in rehearsal my mind flashed-back 20+ years to my mom trying to teach a prideful/boastful little boy a little humility. By now you might be thinking: “cute story, but what in the world does this have to do with retirement planning, estate planning, or real estate investing?” The answer is quite simple: sometimes you just have to admit to yourself you don’t have “all the answers” and draw upon the sense God gave you and rely upon the expertise of others who happen to be “100% competent”, not “smart by half”.
Smart Enough to Make the Right Bets
For instance, my good friends at Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties have access to property listings of every property type imaginable; for every want and need fathomable, and every budget spectrum recommendable. These consummate professionals will put you at ease, guide you in a carrying/non-condescending manner, and ensure they match you with that perfect property; be it a new primary residence, a one-of-a-kind vacation/second-home, or that shrewd investment property which will yield a probability of excellent returns for many years to come.
Okay: you’ve acquired that perfect piece of real estate; now what? Real estate acquisition is only one facet of what should be many integral parts of savvy investment planning woven together in a thoughtful and secure manner. What other concerns/eventualities should be at the forefront of your preparation list? Estate planning and asset protection come to mine.
Planning for the Future
Estate planning: “like wills and trusts and other stuff like that?” “Why would I pay good money to someone else when I can just hop on the internet and download a few templates and do it myself?” Awh, awh, awh… Someone’s being “too smart by half” again. When it comes to estate planning the old saying “it’s not how much you make, but how much you keep” is a truism.
Don’t risk losing everything you’ve ever accumulated over your lifetime to this point on some shaky (and often shady) DIY website. Put your trust in the professionals with decades of experience. Availing yourself of their decades of knowledge and experience will give you priceless peace of mind and pay dividends many times over. Teams of attorneys, like the ones at Morris Trust, have enough experience to not only help you plan for the inevitable but help you better enjoy your life while you’re living it.
Always Have Someone Smarter on Your Team
“Well, it’s too late for me”… “I was the proverbial”…”too smart by half” kind of guy who wouldn’t listen to your suggestions and refused to retain the services of Coldwell Banker Mountain properties and/or Morris Hall Trust Estate Planning–”now what do I do?” Fear not my friend: here’s where my third recommendation kicks in; find yourself an attorney who is ready, willing, and able to step in when you’ve “stepped into it big time”. A thoughtful, caring yet tenacious and zealot advocate will help pull you out of whatever financial sinkhole you find yourself in.
- Rule #1 – Don’t let your pride get the better of you – be willing to rely on the wisdom and expertise of the top-notch industry professionals when it comes to those big life decisions like buying a first home, luxury vacation property, or when you’re getting your estate planning affairs in order.
- Rule #2. – If you violate rule number one above – be “smart enough” and “humble enough” to pick up the phone and call in the consummate legal advice of a trusted attorney who specializes in getting you out of financial trouble.