The book starts with the Banking Crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession, then examines the current political unrest and atmosphere of dystopia, of wars, cynicism and distrust. Viewing much of the institutional failure and social unrest that we find ourselves in as the inevitable birth trauma of moving from warring states to a planetary culture, I ask the question how do we get there from here?
Considering the principle to “Model Integrity and Deliver Freedom” as essential to any lasting civilization, I consider the following core questions for each of seven societal forces. The questions tell us in a moment the state of the health and integrity of each force, in addition to their current capacity to deliver freedom:
1. Are ordinary people alive with Entrepreneurial Spirit in all walks of life and throughout society? Or is there lethargy, resentment, blame and complaint?
2. Do people universally and everywhere seek out financial advice to make sure their values and aspirations are supported financially, seeking financial mentors for their wisdom? Or do they shun financial advisers with distrust?
3. Are financial Products understood to be bedrock investments for people, unequivocally supporting their dreams? Or are they viewed with skepticism or a mix of fear and greed?
4. Do people believe in and celebrate free Markets, participating enthusiastically? Or do they feel cut off from their benefits, suspecting that the economic system is rigged against them, designed only for the economic elite?
5. Do people trust and celebrate Democracy? Or do they distrust politicians and suspect the system only benefits a few?
6. Do people look to the Media to celebrate what is great in civilization and to discover what is rotten? Or do they distrust the media?
7. Do people see Leaders everywhere and in every walk of life inspiring them and others to be better people than they would otherwise be, and do they aspire to be leaders themselves within their own walks of life? Or is there a dearth of leadership in the population and a distrust of those who claim it?
We are called in democratic civilizations to deliver freedom. Even more, we are called to live in freedom, what I’ve called Entrepreneurial Spirit.
Entrepreneurial Spirit is enslaved by the lack of trust in society – by cynicism, blame, war, inequality, hypocrisy, and complaints, particularly in the financial services industry which has conspired to bottle it up like drugs in obscurely structured financial products or in private equity or venture capital machines accessible only to the elite. Entrepreneurial Spirit is meant not just for the rich and powerful, but as a fire of freedom in everyone’s breast.
It is clear that one of the seeds of a golden civilization has begun to sprout. Financial Life Planning, by linking the passion of consumers to financial support systems, unleashes entrepreneurial spirit in everyone it touches.
George Kinder, CFP®, Registered Life Planner®, author, is the founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning and designer of trainings that are recognized world-wide as the standard for client-adviser relationship skills. He recently launched the robo-adviser, LifePlanningforYou.com.