Those who know me best appreciate the fact that I am a voracious reader. Put a cereal box in front of me, and I will read it front to back over a bowl of Cheerios. It’s not uncommon for me to scan hundreds of articles, blogs, and media content each day. Of course this can bring about a certain skepticism toward what is being presented, and some may wonder if it is simply a mind-numbing habit, yet I continue to do read search of more information, data, and knowledge that I might be able to turn into wisdom.
Solve the Problem Backwards
Recently, I came across a blog posting by Adam Nash, titled Solve the Product Maze Backwards. He relayed the story of his young son at a restaurant who had been given a maze to work on while food was being prepared. This particular maze that his son was working on was relatively complex. After a moment of watching him attempt it, Nash suggested that he work the maze backwards.
This tip from Adam Nash hit me like a lightening bolt. Of course, I had to immediately download a couple of maze puzzles from the internet and try.
Yes, working the problem backwards was easier than trying to solve the problem as it was presented. Starting with the goal in mind and working in reverse through the steps was key.
Now that my neurons were firing, I began to recognize that this was not entirely a new piece of information, but rather a new way to explain an old thing. The author Stephen Covey was famous for his forays in his writings and books on “beginning with the end in mind”.
In developing financial strategies, the end must always be in mind to sort and sift through the multitude of solutions to develop a sound financial plan that has a high probability of achieving optimum results.
Often when individuals start to work on a financial strategy, they get stuck on the multitude of choices they could make. What is the best tax strategy? How should I develop an effective investment strategy? How can I protect my property and assets from catastrophe? What am I not thinking about?
Creating a financial strategy that will endure the tests of market volatility, tax law changes, and the human frailties that we carry with us, takes a unique and empathetic point of view to produce the maximum impact on an individual/family.
Knowing the situation, the players involved, and the complexities of their interactions, coupled with detailed knowledge of financial tools can be done only by advisors who have the empathy, knowledge, and experience to maximize and optimize a client’s situation.
There may be a day in the future that algorithms provide many of these answers. Today, however, understanding the human psyche is not something an algorithm is capable of. Financial planning is successful when you can see the whole picture and understand the need to sometimes work from the inside out -or in the case of the maze- the end to the beginning and solve the problem backwards.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to contact White Oaks Wealth Advisors.