It’s time your clients met French philosopher Blaise Pascal. An actual meeting would be difficult to arrange because Pascal died in 1662. But his legacy includes an insight that should be central to the way we think about financial risk.

Pascal argued that it was rational to believe in God. If we believe in God and it turns out God doesn’t exist, the cost is modest – a little less immorality and an hour or two each week given over to worship. But if we don’t believe and it turns out God does exist, the price is considerably higher – an eternity roasting in hell. The implication: Even if the odds that something will happen are small, we should still pay attention to that slim possibility if the potential consequences are dire.

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