Recently, the issue of sexual improprieties has been getting a lot of media attention. This is really just a type of conflict of interest that pervades modern life. Think about it:

  • When you watch a Star Wars movie, they’re actually trying to get you to buy the Star Wars memorabilia.
  • When you talk to a doctor, he wants to prescribe a certain drug because the drug company sends a pretty sales girl to drop off gifts for him.
  • When you see a lawyer, he or she is looking to help other “buddies” such as life insurance agents, real estate agents, etc.
  • When you meet with someone about your investments, he may be thinking about how he can get a fat sales commission.

These are just a few examples. Discovering who all is benefiting from any particular transaction (and whether it will affect you) can be exhausting. But you need to at least try.

My best advice is to always be asking, “Why is this person trying to get me to do this?” You can try to ask the person directly, but you probably won’t get a straight answer.

A better solution would be to ask someone who has nothing to gain. Here’s my best advice: Make friends with a lawyer. Take him (or her) out to dinner once a year. Don’t worry … we don’t bite. And I’m not asking for free dinners by writing this. But if you want to invite me to dinner, call me at 602-443-4888. (Grin)

Then if you’re ever contemplating something that seems a little complicated, call your lawyer. For example, if you’re wanting to buy a house, and you wonder why your Realtor is insisting on using a certain bank or loan company – call your lawyer. If your life insurance agent is insisting that you change to a different type of policy – call your lawyer. (This also assumes that your lawyer isn’t buddies with your Realtor or life insurance agent.)

Frankly, this is what wealthy people do. And it’s how wealthy and successful people avoid making mistakes.

Paul Deloughery is an estate and probate litigation, and law insurance dispute consultant in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more information about his advice to maintain a family’s wealth, visit his website or check out his Twitter!