April showers bring May flowers, as the old saying goes, and there have been showers a-plenty so far this Spring. Of course, this old adage is a musing reflection not only on the tangible effects of the weather on the world, but a metaphor for the cyclical nature of life and work itself. I think there is a double layer here, too: the fatalist’s view that dark days must be passed before good times are found, and the optimist’s view that with hard work, nurturing, and a certain amount of chaos, beauty can be created, and sustained.
It is this latter view which I find engaging, whether it is applied to career, community service, or retirement planning. The idea of beautiful solutions and elegance is found in science as well. To quote author Ian Glynn, from a recent article,
“So what does elegance mean in the context of science? Economy is a considerable part of it, creativity too. An elegant mathematical proof, an elegant theory, or an elegant experiment is one that is economical and imaginative, and sometimes breathtakingly simple once explained.”
So how do we apply these metaphors and concepts to personal finance? Clearly, we need the “rain” to make our goals a reality. This means doing the work of looking at ourselves honestly, working hard, making sure to save, creating goals and plans to achieve them, assuring the plan is sustainable, and watering with disciplined investment and periodic maintenance as life circumstances change. By doing these things, we hope to make our goals and dreams, and the finances that support them, flower.
Often, we are tempted to believe that complexity equals authority. But it is important to remember that elegance and simplicity are the hallmarks of a workable, sustainable plan. Imagination, economy, and simplicity are the order of the day for creating goals and the means to achieve them. A third party, like an independent advisor, may be essential. Their objective insight can part the rains, clearing the complexity, and help you craft the elegant solutions you need. May this Spring’s work make your dreams blossom.
Lance Minnis is Vice President of Commonwealth Financial Advisors, LLC a Registered Investment Advisor. This article is not meant as personal financial advice.