Whether reviewing or designing a plan to protect wealth, we judge its accuracy across four degrees, or directions. If you picture a defense plan as a wall between the risks to a financial position (see here for earlier post) and the prosperity being pursued, how tall and how wide that wall is the visual reference for our judgments.
How high the wall goes is the extent to which the plan will protect against really bad consequences. It’s what we judge to be the degree of inclusiveness, and common questions are, “what if the entire house burns down?”, or “what if you hit the bus full of lawyers?”.
How low the wall goes is the extent to which the plan maximizes the most cost-effective approach. It’s what we judge to be the degree of efficiency, and common questions are, “are those deductibles high enough?”, or “can we drop the home warranty coverage if we have other mechanical breakdown options?”.
How far the wall stretches is the extent to which the plan captures and traps the risks we should worry about. It’s what we judge to be the degree of thoroughness, and common questions are, “have we considered a reputational hit on the business after a public embarrassment?”, or “have we considered the cost to bring this old home up to current building codes?”.
How deep the wall goes is the extent to which the plan can withstand a loss. It’s what we judge to be the degree of robustness, and common questions are, “will I be forced to rebuild my home, or will I have a cash settlement option?”, or “will I have my own attorney represent me, or will it be someone who doesn’t know me?”.
We believe the right answer is always a customized one that addresses the unique needs of the family, but these four ingredients are always present. For a plan to be of good quality, it needs to be built intentionally and we feel consumers should know where their plan stands in all four of these measurements.