For a Vision of the Future, Ask an Actuary

For I know the thoughts that I think of you, saith the Lord,
thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

—Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV)

Can any person know your future?  No, except by the wisdom of God. Can any leader promise you a future?  No, that’s a politician’s promise certain not to be met.

But for a reliable vision of our future, you can do no better than to ask an actuary.  “Part super-hero. Part fortune-teller. Part trusted advisor.” reads the title of one key source describing the actuary.  That source describes what long has been the top-ranked job, “With unbeatable analytical skills, we help organizations plan for the future and protect themselves from loss.”

An actuary’s vision of the future extends far beyond tomorrow’s investments, inflation and interest rates, and morbidity and mortality … although even each of those key factors have very direct bearing on our individual and community decisions and lives. Actuarial futures commonly anticipate social and personal and technological changes, broadly ranging from durability of assets to community growth to lifestyle shifts. Actuarial recommendations are designed to ensure secure individual and collective futures.

During most of my 40+ years of business leadership, I was known as “an actuary’s actuary.”  Invited to be a consulting actuary for a prestigious Wall Street firm, I instead created a demanding position that was unique in the business world: “Your consulting actuaries answer people’s current questions about their futures. I want to prepare you for the questions they will be asking tomorrow and years from now. The questions we don’t even know to ask yet. The futures that haven’t even been dreamed yet.”  Today every major actuarial consulting firm has an actuary’s actuary fashioned after the position I created: visionaries of the future’s own future.

From years of unique experience helping people create their tomorrows and build their futures, I’ve learned that the answers and the solutions come from the people themselves.  An outside management company cannot tell us what our future should be without so much as knowing who we are.  The Board can never impose our future on us; they are only responsible for helping us create it.  The President can promise us no future; he is only offered the privilege of leading us into the future we ourselves will choose to live.

And if you want a vision of a good and peaceful future, ask an actuary.

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