Perspective Needed

by May 24, 2022

Mountaintop view of valley

THE HIGHEST expression of complexity is thoughtful simplicity. It’s like standing on a mountaintop after navigating the ascent.

The work of the mountain’s trailblazer is arduous. He or she must focus intently on the task at hand, glancing left and right, guessing what will come around each new bend. But from the pinnacle looking down, the perspective puts the most efficient path in clear view. It becomes possible to make a map to aid those who will come next.

If we ever want to get out of our own way, to enjoy more money success with less unnecessary effort, we must embrace the simplicity that comes with perspective. But that isn’t always easy to do, especially amid all the noise emanating from the financial services industry.

Simple strategies are okay for beginners, or so we tell ourselves. But who wants to remain a beginner forever? Instead, we want complexity, subconsciously thinking it’ll help us achieve the status we long for.

  • We chase high investment returns because we aren’t content with respectable results from a measured asset allocation that reflects our tolerance for—and need to take—risk.
  • We buy the stocks of individual companies that catch our eye and give us a good story to brag about, rather than spreading risk over a large basket of stocks in low-cost mutual funds or exchange-traded funds.
  • We trade frequently—trying to time the market—because a disciplined strategy of buying and holding isn’t exciting.
  • We create trusts to own and administer our assets when outright ownership would do just fine.
  • We go out of our way to use an exotic tax strategy, instead of evaluating all the pertinent factors and only then following the best tax strategy for our situation.

There’s a temptation to view financial planning as some sort of magic art. We might think the clever planner can allow us to reap what we didn’t sow—to somehow create financial gain with no logical underlying economic substance. But in reality, financial planning is a very rational process. Really, no magic.

Its value is in helping us make intentional, knowledgeable choices that can stretch the utility of every dollar. The planning, however, plays only a supporting role—never taking the lead. If we don’t supply any wisdom, financial planning won’t create it.

Want to put the highest level of financial planning to work for you and your family? Learn to appreciate complexity’s beauty—as expressed in thoughtful simplicity.

This article originally appeared on

About Matt Christopher White
Matt’s heart beats to infuse the Word of God into real life. He wants to help you form a life-giving, practical theology of money and equip you with the money skills and knowledge to live it—right where you are.


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