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How Game of Thrones’ Tyrion Lannister can capitalize on his cleverness

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Disgraced nobleman Tyrion Lannister is one of the most brilliant characters in the fictional book and TV series Game of Thrones. But now that he can’t access his family’s fortune, how can he secure his luxurious lifestyle?

Subject: Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

Problems:

  • Generating income
  • Saving
  • Getting personal insurance

Premiere: July 16, 2017, on HBO

Scenario: Tyrion’s life hasn’t been as easy as his privileged background suggests. He’s the youngest sibling of the richest family in the kingdom of Westeros, and enjoys the education and trappings that come with that status. But he’s the family’s least favourite child because his mother dies giving birth to him. His father, Tywin, is so bitter that he refuses to leave Tyrion an inheritance. Tyrion is also a dwarf, which means he’s underestimated and shunned. Framed for the murder of his nephew Joffrey, who was king of Westeros, Tyrion makes a dangerous escape to foreign lands where he’s kidnapped and sold into slavery. In Season 6, Tyrion meets Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled daughter of a former Westeros king. Tyrion becomes her trusted advisor, and, last we see, they are sailing toward Westeros to reclaim the throne.

Assumptions:

  • We use Canadian laws and planning strategies.
  • Tyrion is provided with room and board as payment from Daenerys. His favourite red wine is included as a job perk.

Leveraging his mind for money

Tyrion doesn’t have to build his life of exile from the ground up. After his kidnapping, his reputation as a knowledgeable advisor to a past king precedes him and allows him to secure safety.

Jack Di Nardo, a senior wealth advisor at WealthWorks Financial in Toronto, suggests Tyrion sell his education and smarts to generate income in two ways.

One, he could “set himself up as a consultant for fine gentlemen and emerging kings and rulers in other realms who may need his expertise in setting up a gentleman’s library,” says Di Nardo. In Tyrion’s era, nobles are expected to be wise, so a library would lend credibility.

“[Tyrion] could be a consultant, advising them on what books to [include],” continues Di Nardo, noting that books were more difficult to obtain in this period. “His job would be to help stock the library: source, consult and [advise on] the top-50 books to have.”

Two, he could peddle his influence with the local government. “He would be, in effect, a lobbyist, […] selling his contacts and influence to help other people solve problems,” says Di Nardo.

Tyrion, who has many vices, could also invest in associated businesses (e.g., wineries) once he has more cash flow. “That way, he doesn’t have to pay for the [products and] services he likes to enjoy,” says Di Nardo. “That could be a wealth-building process — not something he might do [on] day one.”

Further, Tyrion could leverage his family name. Despite causing him anguish, the family name adds credence to his abilities as a consultant, says Di Nardo. “Even though he’s been ostracized by his family, there are still people who would take his calls because of who he is. He could look for favours or grease the wheels [of] bureaucracy.”

Saving his hide and his cash

Tyrion unwittingly follows Di Nardo’s advice: while in exile, he becomes a consultant to Daenerys Targaryen, who’s about to start a war with Tyrion’s sister, Queen of Westeros. Daenerys provides his room and board, as well as a seemingly endless supply of wine.

But Di Nardo says Tyrion should save by putting aside a little bit of what he earns. “He’s got to live on a little less than he makes, otherwise there’s no money to store,” he says, but money doesn’t have to be limited to gold coins and precious jewels. “Anything we agree is valuable can be money.”

For example, he could “choose things that are easily tradeable,” like furs or weapons. And Tyrion could store his treasures in various locations as he travels, rather than use the banking system (always nice when you can avoid the Iron Bank).

Further, since incorporation doesn’t existed in his time, Di Nardo recommends Tyrion open several business offices across the land to protect his consultancy. That way, “he’d have lots of places to hide the money and build assets,” he says, adding that record-keeping and taxation probably aren’t much of a concern.

Covering his assets

If Tyrion were to walk into her office today, Cathy Preston, vice-president of individual markets at RBC Insurance, says she would conduct a needs analysis to help protect him and his assets. A fan of the show, Preston says the first thing she would suggest is life insurance, especially since his family has cut him off.

“I understand he always pays his debts,” she says. So, for peace of mind, “He should probably have some life insurance in case [of death], and then his debts are clear.”

The life insurance policy would allow a beneficiary of Tyrion’s choice — perhaps Podrick, the squire who saved his life — to clear his outstanding debts. If he didn’t want to name a beneficiary, Preston says Tyrion could leave his savings to a charity.

As well, she recommends Tyrion obtain disability insurance, “because there’s a high chance this guy will become disabled before he’s dead.” This would allow him to maintain an income if he becomes physically unable to perform his consultancy duties. Accidental death and dismemberment coverage are also prudent.

However, because of his risky lifestyle, he might not be approved for insurance. “Insurers would think twice before underwriting such a policy due to the high risk Tyrion presents,” says Preston.

His life insurance rates would also be impacted. In the book series, Tyrion has his nose cut off in battle; on the show, his face is severely wounded. Preston says this history of injury could boost his rates or “ability to even secure insurance.”

Lastly, to protect potential beneficiaries from pesky probate tax, Preston says Tyrion could invest in a segregated fund. That way, his wealth would be passed to beneficiaries “within a few days, as opposed to waiting for the whole thing to go through court.”

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