Stay Focused And Try To Keep It Simple Where Necessary

Robert A. Mecca |

Robert A. Mecca, CFP®, MBA
Vice President, Wealth Management

March 20, 2020

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Sometime in our past, we are likely to have complicated issues more than the situation at hand warranted. Perhaps we miscalculated, overestimated, or we thought that there must have been more to it to properly solve the problem. At times there are, indeed, many variables involved which can complicate things. Other times, the solution is simple. In no way am I attempting to minimize this current virus threat, please understand. 

It is best to first approach a problem through a proper lens to maintain focus, then approach it with a possible simple solution. If the situation warrants, we quickly identify the need to graduate to more in-depth analysis and incorporate proper resources and personnel.

Before moving forward, it is imperative to state that a "simple" solution to any problem does not necessarily equate to the problem being "easy." Identification of the issue may require a series of interrelated, and sometimes complex, time-consuming strategies for a full and satisfactory resolution. 

An example of keeping things simple is a recollection that I have about my wife and I taking dancing classes. Having two left feet, I agreed to the class because my wife loves to dance. After several dance lessons, I was feeling somewhat confident and decided on my own to insert some fancier steps only to get my feet tangled and becoming off-balance. The instructor walked over to me and calmly whispered in my ear: "Keep it simple."

I am a huge Marx Brothers fan. In one of their movies, Horse Feathers, Groucho is the dean of a local college. In one scene, a man enters his office and presents him with a written contract. Seeing Groucho's confused expression, the man asked if he understood it. The red-faced Groucho sheepishly laughed, saying that any ten-year-old child can understand the document. He then turned to his aid next to his side and asked him to go out and quickly find a ten-year-old. Keep it simple.

The last example happened outside my office when I worked in Chicago. The incident occurred on a weekday during rush hour in which a fully loaded semi-tractor truck attempted to go under a viaduct and got stuck partway through.

This caused much consternation as the traffic in both directions was halted. In addition, the commuter train tracks on top of the viaduct were impacted. Trains moving either direction were halted; street vehicle traffic in both directions also was stopped; all during rush hour. Crews of engineers, insurance people, department of transportation, police, and many others on the scene were perplexed how to solve this crisis. For what seemed like hours, they tried to come up with a solution. Just then, a man was walking nearby with his eight-year-old daughter and saw the situation. The girl turned to her father and said: "Why don't they just let some air out of the tires?" Keep it simple.

The start of keeping things simple is to develop a full identification and true understanding of the problem or issue at hand. Many people have trouble with this because they are emotionally involved or have a personal bias. Both situations can cloud an essential proper perspective. The answer may be right in front of them, but they cannot see it due to their emotion, bias, or being too close to the situation. This first step of quickly and properly identifying the situation is extremely important. Starting on the wrong foot can lead to inaccurate or disastrous financial results. I am confident that your selection of an informed, rational, and impartial team of trustworthy, fee-only professionals was an excellent first step on your part. 

Maintaining an appropriate focus and attempting to develop a simple solution first makes sense. When there is no simple solution, our highly credentialed and experienced team members cooperate with the common goal of solving the situation by employing the best strategies. 

Coronavirus, Iran, Syria, China, Russia, U.S. politics, and more are major events playing a significant role both in the U.S. and in the international forum. We are closely watching these situations and others on our radar (or computer) screens. 

Sometimes there are no short-term or easy solutions. Short term pain may temporarily rule the day. Partnering with a highly trained team increases your chances of a satisfactory outcome regardless of the complexity of the problem. We keep our focus, then, as necessary, we apply the full manpower, resources, and firepower necessary to resolve. Having an appropriate plan with proper execution of strategies by qualified professionals is essential for success. 

Identifying the problem, staying focused on the long term, keeping unemotional, applying appropriate strategies, and closely monitoring we can all agree is the proper thing to do.

Unless otherwise expressly indicated, the opinions or views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect and may differ from, the opinions or views of StrategIQ® Financial Group, LLC or others within StrategIQ® Financial Group, LLC, including its officers, managers, owners, employees or other service providers.