What does it mean to agonizesthai? Actually it is more of a place or an attitude. A Greek word that was used in the day of the early Olympic Games. It is a place where we strive, struggle, strain and wrestle to overcome in a contest.
When I was looking for the best way to describe my blogging efforts this is the one word that I felt personified how I would describe what I want to write about. There are issues surrounding us today that need to be considered, struggled and wrestled with. We need to think through issues on levels that are important to people not money.
My background is recruiting in the financial services industry. Boil it down and I invest my time in finding clients that I like and trust who have a need to grow their firms and have tried everything they know to achieve this growth, with less than acceptable results.
I then go out representing them and find someone who is qualified, whom I also like and trust. Someone who is looking to be somewhere 5-10 years from now and not really sure, in this economy, how they will ever get there. What happens when I put these people together is that they usually like and trust each other. I have been doing this about two decades now and at first I strove, struggled, strained and wrestled in the contingency search arena. More than one decade ago a manager moved me into retained search and I never looked back. It is my primary function these days. To explain briefly, I mainly work with clients who invest in our relationship at the beginning of our efforts. That is how I earn my living. Helping companies to grow, by acquiring the best talent from their competition and by helping successful people to achieve their dreams.
On any given day, I hear about issues that cause me to strive, struggle, strain and wrestle to overcome the idea that something like that particular issue can be really happening in our world today, and no one seems to care.
That is what I want to blog about. Honestly I don’t think it would be very interesting to hear what is happening behind closed doors in the large investment firms (where I spend most of my days). Instead I would rather discuss the problems that I can see from my point of view, that bring me to agonizesthai.
One of these issues is the inheritance tax law changes that President George W Bush enacted in 2001. You must have read about it, or maybe you’ve had to deal with this issue in your own family. If not let me explain:
Our inheritance tax laws were shameful, taking more than 50% of the estate of someone who has worked hard, and paid taxes on those earnings their whole life. This tax is double dipping as far as I am concerned.
I work hard, pay my taxes, and if I don’t spend it all before I die, and want to leave some money for my children/ family, the US Government takes more than 50% of it. Bad Form!
Well one of President W’s first actions, when he took office, was to wind down the Death Tax (as it is known) over the years until this year; 2010 it is down to zero. Congress, at this point was expected to do away with this abhorrent tax forever. However by doing nothing, the tax comes back in full on January 1st 2011. Seems that Congress excels at doing nothing by the way because that is exactly what is happening.
What does this mean? Well when we consider what happened December 31st 2009 and ten flip it forward to December 31st 2010 it becomes evident.
You see I read about a woman who was terminally ill last year; who spent her final hours, waking and asking her son what time it was, determined to live until after midnight on New Year’s Eve. (When the death tax dropped to 0%) She did! Her motive was to leave more money for her family.
This year as a terminally ill client approaches December, with the full knowledge that the $10 million (example) that they would leave their family in 2010, will become less than $5 million on January 1st 2011, (When the Death Tax jumps back to the highest level again) what will their advisors tell them to do? What will the family be thinking and planning, what will happen?
This is what it means to agonizesthai… to me anyway.