Episode 62: Lessons From The Story of Jacob and Esau

(This is a replay of a previously released episode.)

Both Devin and John like to go out and talk to groups. One of John’s most popular presentations is about the five biggest mistakes people make . In this talk, John likes to tell is the story of Jacob and Esau. You might remember this story from the Bible. It’s a great illustration of the biggest mistake that people make: failure to plan.

As the story goes, Isaac and Rebekah have two children, Esau and Jacob. Esau was older, and was his father’s favorite. As was the Jewish tradition, Isaac always figured that he would bestow his blessing on Esau. At this time, to “bestow the blessing” means to receive the inheritance, to receive the good name and the bounty of the family. Isaac planned to bestow his blessing on Esau, but he didn’t actually do anything with this plan.

In John’s experience, the most dangerous time in a person’s life is when they are frail and vulnerable enough to make some poor decisions, but still mentally competent. This is the situation that Isaac is in. He’s old, his health is poor, and his eyesight is failing. Because of his frailty, he’s unable to see when he’s being tricked into bestowing his blessing on Jacob.

Now, you can keep on reading the story, and it all gets worked out in the end. But it took a long time, and a couple of wars, for the situation to be resolved.

What are the lessons to be learned here?

If you don’t take action, you can end up with a result that isn’t what you intended, and it can leave a war for your family and friends. While this seems to be an estate planning issue, it can also apply to your retirement income plan, your health care plan, and your taxation plan.

Your failure to act can remove certain options from your situation. You can learn all the knowledge, and make the best plan, but all that is useless unless you actually take the steps to implement your plan.

Highlights of this week’s episode include:

  • The three most common wishes for retirement
  • Make a plan – then do what you’ve planned
  • How planning earlier can give you better results

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Devin and John’s free guide:  Three Steps to a Successful Retirement

Don’t forget to subscribe to the show, and leave a rating and a review!

Once a month, Devin and John have an episode dedicated to answering your questions. If you have a question, send it to  questions@bigpictureretirement.net.