If given a choice, people choose simplicity. Simple and easy is good. It helps to encourage comprehension and follow through. Think about it. Back in your school days, what homework did you hate doing the most? Was it math, science, or history? Whatever subject it was, it’s an easy bet that it was the one you found most complicated and understood the least. The best way to ensure that something isn’t done is to make it too complicated. An outlined and researched plan is irrelevant if it intimidates someone. They won't follow something they don't understand. Yet, the irony is that keeping things simple can be exceptionally hard.
At a recent meeting, we outlined a financial plan crafted through hours of work. The client, a widow in retirement, had brought her adult children to the meeting with her. We presented the plan and outlined the steps to the family. The goal was to make it as simple as possible. Simple, in this case, took upwards of ten hours behind the scenes to achieve.
Making something hard seem easy requires a great deal of effort. It requires understanding something well enough to drill it down to the underlying point, ignoring all the other details. Think of your last doctor's visit. Were you prescribed medication? Perhaps your doctor tried to explain what that medication does. They can tell you the route and path a drug takes through your body. How you metabolize the medicine, and what it then does to the blood cells, your systems. Or they can tell you to take one pill, twice daily, to lower your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. The how isn’t what the patient cares about, it’s the what—lower blood pressure.
Our clients don't care about the hours put in behind the scenes. How much effort goes into creating the easy-to-understand and easy-to-follow plan. They care about the why. With our widow and her family, they only cared if the plan worked. More than that, it was about feeling like they had a partner. The woman wanted to know that she had someone to share her burden. Her children wanted to know their mother was in good hands. Everyone wants to be looked after. To know that someone is working with them, planning to overcome any obstacles that come. Any situation is scarier alone. As advisors, that’s our job. To stand with you, our client, and help make financial life a little easier.
It’s not just the financial industry that feels this way; easy is a trend that spans every subject. Take a look at Amazon, for example. They’ve mastered easy with services like one click ordering, subscriptions, and Dash buttons. You might also think of Staples with their famous “Easy Button” sales campaign. Even Siri, Ok Google, and Alexa strive to simplify how we get information and use our devices. After all, what’s easier than talking? There are meal and clothing services that simplify eating well and dressing stylishly. Easy is everywhere. In an increasingly complex world, it’s something everyone longs for, so it’s become a standard of service.
Halter Ferguson Financial is no different. We want to make your investments and financial plan seem easy for you. In reality, there are a lot of working parts to the crafting and maintenance of either. We spend hours poring over research. Deciding what mutual funds to invest in. In what percentages. A hundred other things. But, you don’t want to know the why. Most don’t want, or need, to know about every consideration in our decisions and recommendations. It’s about knowing that your financial advisor is looking out for you and your financial future. That someone is caring for the nest egg you spent a lifetime earning.
We try to keep everything simple for you. Our quarterly reports are an average of eight to ten pages long. We could fill a hundred pages with facts and figures, but who would read it. Who would understand it? Many of our clients don’t even look at every report, beyond the first few pages. Our clients trust in us. When they chose us, it was because they thought we would be a good partner. Helping to secure financial peace of mind for their future.
It comes down to one simple goal that is complicated to achieve. We work really hard to make it really easy for you. You don’t care about the details that went into your financial plan or our investment decisions. Those details are noise to you. All you want to know is if it works, for all the reasons that matter to you.Lisa Angelo contributed this article.