Constructive Paranoia


I was recently thinking about the concept of “constructive paranoia” that I’d read about in Jared Diamond’s “World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies?” which he explained further in this article. This concept comes to mind for me when I think about how and why I find planning so important — it’s because I am constructively paranoid.

Although it is unlikely that one of our clients will be incapacitated today or tomorrow, the odds are very good (over 50 percent for people over 65) that one of them will become incapacitated at some point. From my standpoint, although it is not likely that any specific client will become incapacitated this year, it is very likely that one of our clients will become incapacitated in the next five years.

So I keep writing and talking about things like incapacity, proper insurance, and estate plan reviews. I know that the odds are very good that one of you will experience something unexpected and, for example, this will cause an estate plan to go into effect that no longer reflects events that have occurred since, say, 1997. I just don’t know who that someone will be.