That which makes us strong is often our greatest weakness. That which provides us with our greatest advantage usually is our biggest handicap as well.
What has made this country great is the fact that our Founders eschewed the old ways, turning their backs on the Europe of privileged classes and established religions and hidebound traditions. Those Founders made things up as they went along (and took pains to temper the tendencies of the mob–Exhibit A in this Presidential election season being the electoral college), though they were all students of the Enlightenment which was forged in, well, Europe.
Unencumbered by the constraints of tradition, we built an uneven but in the end efficient, wealth building, market-based economy where pluck and risk-taking was rewarded, no matter your pedigree.
So what’s the problem? The rest of the world has caught up. No less an authority than Alan Greenspan pointed out at the Pershing Insite conference in early June that “we have emerged in the last 50 years into a global environment.” Yes, Dr. Greenspan said, “the world is turbulent,” but argued that it “will need to stay that way to maintain the standard of living” enjoyed by the developed world, while acknowledging the “angst among those on the wrong side of creative destruction.”
I would argue that globalization has now come to the provision of investment advice, to the profession of financial planning. It has come to your clients who may be American citizens but have homes in Tuscany, or are thinking of retiring to Costa Rica, or may have a spouse who is not an American citizen. The world grows smaller day by day.