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Planning for uncertainty

By Marty Cayton, posted 2 months ago
Nataliya Vaitkevich/Pexels

If you have lived long enough, you have probably heard the old saying, “There’s only two certainties in this world; death, and taxes,” made famous by Benjamin Franklin. While there’s a morbid sense of truth here, the preparation does not have to be so grim. 


We tend to put off things we don’t like; we procrastinate. Who likes to think about paying taxes and certainly, our own demise is usually not a favorite topic to dwell on either. We almost inadvertently, or perhaps subconsciously, decide that we are going to live forever, or worse, when we are gone — we think, someone else can deal with it! Well, the “it” that others will have to deal with is unknown to them — unless it is made known. 


Somewhere between the endless years of tax returns, and if you are making any money, the checks written to the IRS, are the joyous thoughts of retirement and an easier life. 


Oddly enough, you would think these inevitabilities would command significant planning efforts from business owners and other income earners, but statistics prove otherwise. 


SCORE, a small business support organization, states 34 percent of small business owners do not have retirement plans for themselves and 40 percent of owners do not believe they will be able to retire by age 65. 


The reality is that business owners, small and not so small, need advisors. They need professionals in their lives that they can trust and depend on. Many a business owner or executive has reached retirement age only to find they are not prepared. 


Of course, the best way to prepare is to plan. Plan to maximize earnings, plan to pay your fair share of taxes, but certainly no more than that, taking advantage of every opportunity to save, defer and lower one’s tax liability. 


According to a recent Aug. 2, 2022 article from, business owners should, “think about taxes year-round!” It’s a shame to have a phenomenal year, and end up paying too much tax because we waited too late to plan. According to the article, “Tax planning should be folded into business strategy.”


Finally, the planning that only the very few, and usually, the very wealthy do well, is estate planning. A very famous and over quoted saying is, “Death comes to us all.” and no other truth is so solid as this one. In Psalm 49:10 we hear, “For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others” (NIV). 


So with this truth so indelibly imprinted on our psyche, why do we avoid the planning for it? In fact, according to a recent poll conducted by, only about 33 percent of Americans have put these plans in motion, meaning the other 67 percent are “leaving what happens to them and their assets in case of disability or death up to others, including the state.”


If all of this has you scratching your head, scratch no more! Our next Power Breakfast called, “Managing Uncertainty,” has pulled together a panelist of professionals to address some of these concerns. I hope you will consider coming. Sign up today at No one likes to be caught off guard. Being prepared is one of the most fulfilling aspects of life. 


That being said, I leave you with another tidbit of wisdom, again, from Benjamin Franklin: “Well done, is better than well said.” 


God bless you and yours, 


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