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Smaug and Wealth Protection

One of my favorite Tolkien character is Smaug the Dragon from the Hobbit. “Smaug the Tremendous” (as he is named in the book), lived in the Lonely Mountain (after he evicted some annoying Dwarves), and amassed a tremendous hoard of gold and spoils from his plundering and epic destruction of Dale and other places (also from those greedy evicted Dwarves as well). His wealth protection skills were hard to argue with.

A conversation with Smaug as drawn by Tolkien
A Conversation with Smaug, as drawn Originally by JRR Tolkien

Smaug is a typical dragon, he amassed a vast wealth but really didn’t plan for his future and how he might enjoy  it in his later years. Smaug lived for today, because he believed himself indestructible. If you read the book (the Hobbit) you know he did actually plan for his future, in that he armored his belly (in the book Dragons have notoriously softer bellies) with gold and diamonds from his hoard, making him almost indestructible (that really isn’t mentioned in the movie, or it is written a little differently).

Smaug had riches beyond the imagination of the greediest Orc, Dwarf, Elf or Halfling (or Hedge Fund Manager)  in Middle Earth, but in the end because he did not have a strong financial plan, he never really got to enjoy the fruits of his labors (or plundering, if you wish to think of it that way).

Forbes estimated Smaug was worth about $62 Billion at the time of his demise (read the Forbes Fictional 15 for more details), you would have thought someone with that much wealth would have a retirement plan or at least a “Plan B” if something went wrong, but, unfortunately he did not, so his Wealth then ended up being the center of an ugly disagreement between many different folk (read the book, or watch the movies if you need more explanations).

Did Smaug Succeed ?

All this is to say, that no matter how good “Smaug the Stupendous” was at amassing his fortune, he only got to sleep on it, and look at it, he never really got to enjoy it (especially in his non-existent older years). Even in Fantasy Fiction it is important to plan for your future, and hopefully your retirement. The least you should do is write a Will (which I believe Smaug forgot to do as well), to ensure no wars break out over your wealth.


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