Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wealth Is Just Luck? Two Views

Wealth is just luck? Jim Gust questioned, reacting to a research study. Like most topics these days, the question has become politicized. Liberal Democrats think wealth is just a lottery ticket away; old-line Republicans say you have to work and sweat for it.  Jim leans toward the latter view.

Michael Lewis does not. In his frequently cited 2012 address to graduating Princetonians, the author insisted his wealth and success was luck all the way. At a dinner party he happened to run into people from Salomon Brothers. Salomon Brothers happened to put him to work flogging mortgage-backed securities. And he happened to realize he could write a best seller about grown men manufacturing derivatives.

All luck? Maybe, but his M.A. in economics and his extraordinary talent for turning financial intricacies into ripping good yarns didn't hurt.

Here's a more realistic view of the role of luck, heard on NPR the other day. Read or better yet listen to Sir James Dyson, inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner.

When the interviewer asked if he believed in luck, Sir James mentioned hard work and perseverance before mentioning luck. Then he backtracked:
I do believe, though, that you create your own luck. Because luck is around. You know.  
I did long-distance running at school. And you only succeed by doing a huge amount of training and then having great stamina, understanding that other people are also feeling tired. So when you feel tired, you should accelerate. That's when you start winning.
I've learnt that with developing new technology, that when you feel like giving up is precisely the point everybody else gives up. So it's at that point that you must put in extra effort. And you do that, and then success is literally just around the corner. 
Whose view of luck do you favor? Michael Lewis? Sir James Dyson?

Before deciding, you should know that Sir James almost certainly has the larger yacht.

Yacht Nahlin, built in in 1930 and restored by Sir James

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Leonard Bernstein's Legacy

Leonard Bernstein
Born one hundred years ago, August 25, 1918, Leonard Bernstein died in 1990, leaving an estate estimated at $5 million and a 20-page will that placed his estate in trust for his three children.

Considering the royalties that West Side Story alone must produce, $5 million was a dubious estimate of his estate's value. For the benefit of those not aged enough to remember Lenny, the Library of Congress provides this description:
Bernstein, arguably the most prominent figure in American classical music of the second half of the twentieth century, made his impact as a conductor, as a composer of classical and theater music, and as an educator through books, conducting students at Tanglewood, and especially through various televised lecture series that helped define the potentials of that medium.
The centennial of his birth is being widely celebrated, especially at Tanglewood, the music center in the Berkshires where Lenny got his start and where he returned to teach and conduct throughout his lifetime. The close bond between Bernstein and Tanglewood can be sensed in John Rockwell's account of his last summer there.

Bradley Cooper
Readers seeking to know more about America's remarkable 20th-century prodigy should consult the Library of Congress collection linked above. In addition to holding materials from Bernstein's estate, the collection, nicely organized for digital viewing, has been enriched by contributions from others.

Or they can wait for the movie – a biopic in which Lenny is to be portrayed by Bradley Cooper.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Free webinar on estate planning

Here's a plug for a webinar next week by Marty Shenkman, one of our regular Estate Planning Study contributors, together with Jonathan Blattmachr.  They are very good at these.


Hot Topics for a Hot Summer
Wednesday, August 29th, 12pm EST - Free Webinar
Sponsor: John Hopkins All Children's Foundation.

Speakers: Jonathan Blattmachr and Martin Shenkman. Moderated by Jerome Hesch.

Course Information:  Get information on a variety of hottopics and recent developments in:
·   Estate and Gift Tax Law.
·   Creditor Protection Law.
·   Planning with Irrevocable Trusts.
·   Planning Under New Section 199A.
·   Florida Law Developments.
·   New Strategies and Techniques for Increasing Basis.

·   Much more!

This may constitute attorney advertising.
I've already registered.  This link should take you to the registration page.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

1924: A Well-Placed Executorship Ad

Location, location, location . . . .

During unrelated research I came across this ad in The New York Times for March 21, 1924, artfully positioned next to the death notices.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

An inspired graphic presentation at the NYTimes

All about Apple surpassing $1 trillion, and the size of companies.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/02/technology/apple-trillion-market-cap.html