“No 90-year old ever complained about being too healthy,” my friend Dr. Michael Bilof joked to me over lunch on Saturday.
Mike is a vascular and bariatric surgeon, as well as an anti-aging expert. And he’d just given us a really interesting presentation about how to prolong both quantity AND quality of life; he called it “How to live to 100… without feeling like 100.”
This was at the annual meeting of the Atlas 400 that took place over the weekend in beautiful Park City, Utah.
I’m on the board of Atlas, so it’s my duty to attend– I flew up and back just for the weekend.
But even without being on the board, I wouldn’t dream of missing it. I’ve attended every annual meeting since the inception of the club more than a decade ago… primarily because the members are all so great, and because I learn so much.
Dr. Mike was one of the speakers, along with Professor Peter Turchin– a highly cited researcher who studies the collapse of empires and complex civilizations.
Prof. Turchin’s extensive research showed us that western civilization has entered a new crisis era that could easily last a decade or more, just like in the US in the 1860s and early 1960s.
I’ll have more about his conclusions in a future letter because they’re highly intriguing and will likely affect us all. But I want to get back to Mike for now, and I think you’ll see why in a moment.
Dr. Mike’s presentation on wellness and longevity was grounded in multi-disciplinary medical science, biochemistry, and common sense. And it was truly insightful.
He told us, for example, how important SLEEP is to health and longevity. If you have the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality, you’ll probably get your wish sooner rather than later.
If sleep weren’t so vital to health then the evolutionary process would have eliminated it 100,000 years ago. And yet that didn’t happen.
Even though we’ve advanced far beyond our caveman days, we all still require plenty of quality, uninterrupted sleep. When we sleep well, we feel great. When we don’t, we struggle through the day.
Anyhow, the point here isn’t to talk about sleep or longevity– though both topics are fascinating. The point is what he and I discussed later over lunch: no one is ever going to complain that their sleep quality is too good.
And no 90-year old will ever complain that he/she is too healthy… or has too much muscle mass… or moves around fluidly without pain or discomfort.
This is the entire ethos behind a Plan B.
No normal, rational person will ever complain, for example, that their completely legal tax mitigation strategy is too effective.
No one will ever complain that they have too many options around the world to be able to travel, live, work, invest, and take their family to safety should the need ever arise.
No one will ever complain that their bank is too safe and their savings too secure.
But this is what a Plan B really is; in the face of obvious risks, a Plan B is a composite of simple, common-sense strategies that make sense regardless of what happens (or doesn’t happen) next.
Just like making great health decisions, there’s no downside to having a solid Plan B.
But if the worst happens, strong, healthy people who have made great health decisions are much more likely to avoid or overcome adverse medical events.
Similarly, those with a solid Plan B are much more likely to avoid or overcome adverse socioeconomic events– whether inflation, recession, depression, culture wars, social violence, market shocks, currency destabilization, debt defaults, pension fund insolvency, etc.
And like good health, a Plan B doesn’t need to be overly complicated.
Many of Dr. Mike’s suggestions for wellness and longevity, for example, were simply small tweaks– not drinking caffeine after a certain hour in the evening, exercising first thing in the morning, avoiding processed sugars.
These are not revolutionary suggestions, and certainly not scary.
It’s the same with a Plan B. You don’t need to dive in right away with a complex offshore trust and a captive insurance company.
Those might be great options eventually, but you might get started with simple tweaks.
For example, many people currently hold the vast majority of their life’s savings in a domestic bank account earning 0.01% (I’m talking to you mom!).
Whether you realize it or not, most of your assets are exposed to risks like inflation, civil asset forfeiture, frivolous lawsuits, a potentially bureaucratic probate process, and more.
With a few small tweaks, you could quickly mitigate many of those risks.
For example, you might consider holding a small amount of savings in physical cash; just like your bank account, cash doesn’t pay any interest, so it’s not a good inflation hedge. But it does reduce other risks related to estate planning and asset protection.
Another simple tweak is to consider owning a bit of physical gold and silver, which is not only a great inflation hedge, but also part of a potential estate planning or asset protection strategy.
Or you might also have ancestry from certain countries like Italy, Poland, Ireland, or the United Kingdom… in which case you are entitled to citizenship and a second passport from that country.
Citizenship through ancestry is typically inexpensive and a much faster process than other options to acquire another citizenship.
And doing so means that you will always have another place to go, whether to visit, live, work, or invest, for the rest of your life.
It will also pass down to your children, and your children’s children. Future generations who won’t be born for decades will benefit from the little bit of effort you put into this today.
That’s not scary at all. It’s actually pretty great. And it makes all the sense in the world.