The Secret Strength of One Clear Goal

The Secret Strength of One Clear Goal

What Death Taxes Teach about the Power of Clarity

Getting clear on what it is you really want is the key to moving toward success. If you want to have your big dreams happen, you have to set a clear goal.

This is the kind of success we see here with the GLO members. Big deals are happening every day as a result of having one clear goal.

Let me share with you a true story today to help you see the secret strength of setting a clear goal.

Now you might think I’m the last person to spend my time running around the English countryside. And you’d probably be right. But this is the place where this story happens.

The people in this story had a need. They were honest about it, and they made it happen.

A clear objective changes the game. It makes amazing things possible.

The Death Tax Problem

Chatsworth House is the family home of the Dukes of Devonshire, one of the oldest and most respected families in British nobility. Like the family on Downton Abbey, they have an old, gigantic mansion that has been in the family for centuries, along with other houses and farmland that make them one of the richest families in England.

Times change, however, and even the business of being British nobility can require some innovation to stay relevant.

In the first half of the twentieth century, Britain was shifting from an old aristocratic system with a big divide between the rich and the poor to a more social democratic system with socialized health care and other social safety net protections for the poor.

To pay for this safety net, taxes rose dramatically… especially estate taxes. There were ways around the estate taxes, but they required that you be very prepared before someone died, because Britain’s add-on to your funeral expenses was a mind-blowing 80% death tax.

After the untimely death in 1950 of Edward Cavendish, the 10th Duke of Devonshire, the Devonshire title fell to the Duke’s son, Andrew Cavendish.

Edward had not prepared a will. Without the protections of a will, the Duke’s house, land, and money were all subject to this monstrous 80% death tax.

After four hundred years, the Dukes of Devonshire were going to lose almost everything.

The new Duke and Duchess were still reeling from Edward’s death and had no experience in real estate or finance, but they did have one clearly defined goal: they wanted to save Chatsworth House.

The first step was just to stop the government from seizing all their assets. The Duke went in with an offer and a plan. He’d give Her Majesty’s Treasury itself sizable portions of the estate to buy time to figure out the rest.

The Clarifying Solution

Then, the brainstorming began. The solution came in the clarity of their goal: they wanted to make money to save their house.

Duke Andrew Cavendish and his wife, Duchess Deborah Cavendish, realized that the clearest, most direct path to achieving that was to get the house to make money.

Visiting English stately houses has been a common tourist activity in England for hundreds of years. The Cavendish couple decided that they could turn a profit from showing off the house, and thereby pay the taxes and afford the staff and upkeep.

So, this centuries-old estate became open to the public, with rooms, the art collection, and the working estate farm available for visiting.

As business boomed, the estate added a petting zoo, a shop to sell the food raised on the farm, a tea shop serving lunch, and an exclusive restaurant serving food raised or hunted on the Chatsworth estate.

Pretty soon, these income streams paid off the death taxes, and Chatsworth House evolved into a thriving multimillion dollar business.

It now averages over six hundred thousand visitors a year, and, until her death in 2014, regularly featured the Duchess of Devonshire behind the cash register at the farm shop, ringing up customers.

Chatsworth House remained and thrived because the 11th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire had one clear goal—to keep the house—and they worked and innovated to make that possible.

Find your one clear goal. At GLO, we have one clear goal too—to create success together. Join GLO and together we can achieve those goals!


Josh Altman Headshot

Josh Altman

Josh Altman is one of the most successful real estate agents in the United States, specializing in the luxury housing markets of Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and the Hollywood Hills. Josh’s clientele consists primarily of A-list celebrities, professional athletes, business leaders, and high net worth individuals from around the globe, and he has sold over $1.5 Billion in real estate, including the most expensive one bedroom house in history, which sold for $21,500,000.

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