BY JAY W. HENDERSON

There are a lot of lessons that we try to teach our children. “Yes, Sir,” “No, Sir,” “Thank you,” “You’re welcome,” “Don’t run with scissors, all come to mind.”

A really big lesson in life is to plan ahead. Bears and dogs don’t plan anything; they just react. It is one of the unique characteristics of the human that he or she can actually plan for the future and execute the plan and come out with a result, maybe even the intended result.

In executing the plan, though, another lesson is to be very careful.

I was recently visiting with a client who owns a very large industrial tire sales operation. A few years ago, when the economy collapsed, so did their business. Tires, it seems, are really clothing; or as close to clothes as cars get. They are cosmetic items that people stop buying when the economy goes bad.

Then, when it came back a little bit, a few months ago, the market had changed. Now, all you had to do was read up on your favorite whiz-bang racing skin, click about three keys and the new tires would be on your doorstep two days later. Getting someone to install them might be a problem, but not enough of a problem to prevent them from buying for the best price on Amazon.

My client’s solution? Well, they are old enough to have been through a number of ups and downs. In their mind, from time to time over the years, the economy goes in the tank. So, they keep lots of cash on hand for exactly those times. This time, the cash saw them through the downturn and change in business style until they could launch their own Internet sales effort.

Another client, whom I’ve known for many years, called me two weeks ago to ask if his and his wife’s estate plan were in order? I affirmed that they were and he explained that his wife had been walking along the sidewalk, listening to an audio book on ear buds when she decided to cross the street. She didn’t notice that the light was red and couldn’t hear the car what was right next to her when she stepped off the curb. Because her affairs were completely in order, there was nothing for her husband and her eleven children to do but mourn and comfort each other. There would be no legal complication from her death.

The message is simple: plan ahead and be very, very careful.