Be Skeptical of the Overly Complicated
I’m not a competitive athlete, but I do try to take care of myself by working out and eating right (most of the time). After forty-eight years on the planet, I’ve figured how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Keep it Simple: There are four basic components: 1. Water (I drink water instead of sugary soft drinks); 2. Sleep (I try to get seven to eight hours each night); 3. Good Nutrition (I eat mostly whole foods – plants, animals, nuts, and seeds); and 4. Exercise (I lift weights and do some cardio five or six days a week). IF I do all four of these things, then I feel great; I can control my weight, and the doctor likes my vital signs and blood work. What works for me is simply the culmination of what I’ve read and tested over the years. If you’ve been on a similar journey, you can relate to what I am about to point out: there are A LOT of complicated diets, exercise programs, and, of course, dietary supplements. It’s enough to make your head spin. It’s almost as if there’s a conspiracy to make health maintenance complicated. What does this have to do with your finances? I’m glad you asked.
I went to work as a financial professional in 1991. Since then, I’ve seen a lot of financial strategies gain and lose popularity. Many were like “fad diets”; they were unnecessarily complicated with questionable results. Over the last fifteen years or so, there has also been an explosion in both the variety and sheer number of financial products available in the marketplace. From my vantage point, it seems like there’s another complexity conspiracy. If that’s my view as an experienced and credentialed adviser, the sea of choices and daily propaganda of “buy this, not that” must be overwhelming for many investors.
Keep It Simple (Again): Here’s my suggested “diet plan” to address this financial complexity: 1. Don’t give up or “settle” when it comes to poor investment performance, inadequate adviser communication, or limited choices (keep looking or get a second opinion); 2. Maintain an emergency fund and keep about half of your investments liquid; 3. Monitor your investments monthly (you can delegate day-to-day duties but, ultimately, it is still your responsibility); and 4. Be sure you understand all fees charged for every investment (and get it in writing). If you do these things, you can keep your financial life more simple . . . and you’ll PlanStronger™!