Ever heard this before? My high school literature teacher said it over and over again. Maybe because she was tired of reading poorly written literary pieces from half-interested high school students but I have, nonetheless, carried her guidance with me.
Keep it Simple. As the world becomes increasingly complex, following this truth can serve us in so many ways. Whether communicating with a co-worker, planning a holiday meal for family, or designing your new webpage… simple is the way to go.
We keep this concept front and center when we work with plan sponsors and participants. From the boardroom to the breakroom, we keep it simple when it comes to explaining financial concepts and working through the decision-making process.
There is financial “glamour” all around us – on the news and around the water cooler. True, you might sound really sophisticated if you talk about your investment in Bitcoin or the irrevocable trust you set up with your attorney. But most “glamorous” things in the financial world are also very complex. Is the complexity worth it?
For both plan sponsors and participants, the first step in good decision-making is knowing what you’re REALLY trying to accomplish. Sure, an irrevocable trust might sound good but do you really need to take expensive, complicated steps to avoid federal estate taxes if the value of your estate is exempt from federal taxes? Now, I don’t mean to pick on irrevocable trusts. You can say the same thing about lots of other financial products or concepts.
Every decision has an upside and a downside. Every situation has a probability. Just keep it simple. Is the probability of an outcome high enough to warrant the associated costs and complexity? Let’s face it, there is a probability that you’ll be struck by lightning on your way home today but the probability is so low that most of us leave our lightning rods behind when we step out for the day. Let’s think the same way when it comes to organizing our financial affairs.