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On the Third Hand: World Trade Center

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When I go to work in the morning, I normally walk by the September 11 Memorial and Museum site in Manhattan.

Today, security blocked off the gate I usually use because family members of those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks were using it to get to a remembrance ceremony. 

Sometimes, people in New York seem to get angry about the idea of vendors hawking World Trade Center souvenirs at or near the memorial site.

On the one hand, of course, there’s something jarring about the idea of turning such a terrible event into a revenue stream.

See also: Updated: WTC Building 7 Collapses

On the other hand: The people who died in the attack were not, generally, drifters who sat around waiting for passersby to put alms in their bowls. Thousands were stockbrokers, traders, retail store workers and insurance brokers.

They worked in buildings built by developers and building managers who were part of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA).

The WTCA represents the idea that creating long-term, ethical, respectful domestic and international trading relationships can help the traders make money while making the world a little better.

In New York’s WTC Twin Towers, many of the people who died spent their days shaping the flow of the world’s capital to support pension funds, individual retirement arrangements, and efforts to protect people, businesses and other clients against the risk of illness, injuries, accidents, natural disasters and premature death. 

See also: Many Insurers, Agencies Had Offices At WTC

In the weeks leading up to the attack, for example, I received what seemed to be an endless series of press releases from a health insurance company for its new family of individual health insurance products, and from an investment bank that was organizing a conference that would give insurance companies a chance to show off for money managers. 

It seems to me that one fine way to observe the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is to sell a good, suitable investment or insurance product to the right buyer at the right price. 

On the third hand, it’s hard to know how any particular sale you make will work out. There’s always the risk that conditions will be much different from what you expect, or that the issuer’s performance will be different from what you expect.

Prices could go up. Claim processors could be inefficient. Issuers could leave the market.

But we all have to come up with the best assumptions that we can about the future and then move forward. The plans we make could fail, but choosing to do nothing is also a plan. To paraphrase Dr. Marion Somers, a failure to plan at all is quite likely a plan to fail. If we make a big, bold, confident leap, maybe momentum will make up for any errors in forecasting.