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Deus Ex Machina

| March 31, 2019
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James Bond aka 007, the British spy created by author Ian Fleming, is one of my favorite movie characters of all-time. The movie franchise that sprung from the character is one of my favorites as well. One of my earliest childhood memories is seeing The Spy Who Loved Me at the Lyceum Theater in Bayonne, NJ, with my Dad. Later in life, I read many of the books that the movies were based on.

There was virtually nothing about Bond I did not like. He was cool, he was confident, and he always beat the bad guy. One of my favorite parts of any Bond film was when he visited the research and technology offices of MI6, which is basically the British CIA.

The tech offices were known as Q Branch and the head of that division was called simply, if not very imaginatively, Q. Q would outfit Bond with all of his futuristic, bad guy fighting gadgets and machines, that masqueraded as everyday items like watches, pens, bow ties, etc. He would also provide Bond with his exotic cars, equipped with the ability to create oil slicks, fire rockets and one which turned into a submarine!

The pattern all the movies followed was inevitable. Bond would come face to face with the ultimate enemy and be captured. The evil genius (are there any other kind in movies?) would devise an overly elaborate, though devious, method of killing 007. Just before the moment of destruction, our hero, James Bond, would remember one of the wondrous gadgets Q provided him and use it to escape. Narrowly averting death, he would provide the audience a thrill, resume the chase and bring the villain swift and often permanent justice. He is "licensed to kill" after all!

This plot device, when a seemingly irresolvable situation is suddenly resolved by divine intervention, has been around for a few thousand years and goes all the way back to Greek tragedy. It is known as deus ex machina, or, god from the machine. Back then, a god would rescue the hero by suddenly dropping down from the ceiling, suspended by a rope attached to a lever or crane. Hence, a god from a machine. In the case of James Bond, the "god" often is the machine. Clever.

Given that this concept has been being used for millennia, we can be pretty sure of its appeal to us humans. Perhaps it is owing to this pervasive myth that deep down, we tell ourselves that when we are stuck betwixt hammer and anvil in our lives, a god will appear from nowhere or our briefcase will turn into a helicopter and carry us from danger to salvation.

It will not.

I often speak with people in my financial planning practice who are experiencing varying degrees of circumstances that are, what a good of friend of mine calls, "ungood." They frequently express a common sentiment of wishing they would have taken action sooner in some area of their lives or businesses.

They may have put off saving more and are now faced with difficult choices or sacrifices. It might be that they recently lost an employee or a number of employees crucial to their business, to a competitor. They or a loved one may have been assailed by an unexpected and unwelcome medical event. These often-wonderful folks speak to me about how they regret not having done more, sooner, that would have mitigated or, perhaps, even prevented these dour results.

It need not be so.

Through proper planning we can give ourselves the best chance of never needing to wish for a deus ex machina to deliver us, at the last moment, from destruction. The essence of proper planning is this - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It truly is that simple.

Plan, but most importantly, act on that plan. If you like, work with a financial services professional to help you.

Scott R. McGimpsey March 31st, 2019

This material was prepared by Scott McGimpsey and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources, however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Neither Summit Brokerage Services Inc. nor Scott McGimpsey is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professionally services. If such assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal, state, or municipal tax penalty. Moreover, a diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or assure protection against loss in a declining market. UNIFIED PLANNING GROUP is an independent firm with securities offered through Summit Brokerage Services Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC

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