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Financial Planning Lessons We Learned from Classic Lit


Books have been known to help develop greater capacities for empathy, strengthen the brain and prevent cognitive decline, and even reduce stress and help us enjoy longer lives.

But we also found a few unexpected financial lessons in some of literature’s more famous works. Here are two of our favorites below.

Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

The first line in Leo Tolstoy’s novel begins with a line so famous that it is known as the Anna Karenina Principle. The principle states that failure can come in many different ways, but success comes in only one way: by avoiding every avenue to failure that life puts in your path.

When it comes to financial planning, we recognize that life invariably puts many pitfalls in your way. Unexpected “life events” can and will happen: loss of job, death in the family, emergencies that require emergency funds.

While every family’s situation is unique, unfortunately many financial plans are cookie cutter. A solid financial plan should be uniquely fitted to handle your unique situation, and provide you with your “own way” to roll with life’s punches.

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels

“Every man desires to live long, but no man wishes to be old.”

Among his many seafaring  adventures, Jonathan Swift’s hero Gulliver travels to the island of Luggnagg, where he first hears of the dangers of immortality. The “struldbrugs” who live on the island have learned the hard lesson that endless life, accompanied as it is with the infirmities of old age, creates its own problems.

As we now face longer – and better – life expectancies in reality, this lesson really comes to heart.

As your financial team sets up your retirement plan, make sure they are doing more than just helping you plan for the life you need – they should be helping you create the life you want.

Planning Capital Management Corp is a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC, and we are held to a fiduciary standard with all of our clients. We offer full financial planning in conjunction with investment advice and portfolio management. Should you have any questions or concerns about current market conditions, or just general financial planning questions, you can reach us at: (215) 709-5100 or