Years ago I remember reading about a “Marshmallow Experiment,” where Stanford researcher Walter Mischel gave a group of three to five year-olds a choice: Eat one marshmallow now, or wait fifteen minutes and get two marshmallows. The experiment was intended to measure children’s ability to delay gratification.
Mischel found that only 30 percent of the children were able to wait fifteen minutes; most of the children gobbled down the marshmallow before the time was up. As I read this I remember thinking I would have waited. I hated marshmallows.
Mischel followed up with the children and found that as they got older, the children who could delay gratification were more likely to do well in school, have higher SAT scores, and obtain jobs; generally, they were more likely to succeed at life. Low-delayers, however, were more likely to have higher body-mass index measurements later in life, have problems with drug use and generally be less successful overall.
I suspect that people who take care of their estate planning would also have been in the delayed gratification group. They are the same people who do well in school, have higher SAT scores, and obtain jobs; generally, they were more likely to succeed at life. I know this because I see it everyday as I help people complete their estate planning. And just like waiting to eat the marshmallow and getting twice as much. Estate planning helps people get twice as much out of their estates. If you want to be wealthy, act like the wealthy and get your planning done.