Keep It Simple Stupid: Sometimes We Make Things Too Complex

One thing I’ve realized over the past few weeks is just how complex we as human beings like to make things, even when they could be so simple. We love to take things that really are pretty basic and easy to understand, dissect them and turn them into something more complex, and harder to understand. The thing is – things don’t need to be complex – and are often easier if you just get down to the basics.

Simple Things Made Complex

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Here’s an example.  My wife and I just had a baby 2 weeks ago (That’s him up above!).  For the previous 9 months we had been reading everything we could get our hands on on raising children, what to expect when the babies arrive, how to properly put them to sleep, how and how often to feed them, what things you need to buy for your child before they arrive – and so on.  With all of the information out there things can start to get extremely complex really fast.   I can understand how many new parents feel overwhelmed with all of the decisions that they have to make – it ends up being paralysis by over analysis.

What I’ve realized over the past 2 weeks, however, is that having a baby and fulfilling their needs – while it can be very complex – is actually very simple.  All the baby needs you to do is feed it, change it’s diapers and allow it to sleep.  As long as you do those things the baby will thrive!  Yes, there is a lot more to it, but as long as you do those things – and you just focus on the basics – you’ll do just fine!

Personal Finance Made Simple

Like having children – personal finance can also be made much more complex than it needs to be.  People feel overwhelmed with the amazing amount of choices when it comes to different budgets to follow, what types of investments to make, how to get rid of debt, which investment guru to follow, paying for college educations and more.   The thing is – it really isn’t that complex.  It really comes down to a few simple principles that you can follow:

  • Spend less than you earn – and live below your means.
  • Stick to a budget.
  • Plan ahead for emergencies.
  • Save for the future.
  • Give!

Everything else is just an offshoot of those basic principles (although your basic principles may be a bit different than mine).

It’s Easy To Get Overwhelmed.  Instead – Simplify!

So next time you start feeling overwhelmed when it comes to your finances, take a step back, and try to look at things simplified.    Look at the basic concepts of the subject you’re examining, and work out from there. It will help you to stay focused, and remind you of what’s important when it comes to money.   Sometimes the most complex solutions aren’t as helpful as the most basic of concepts.

What do you think? Do you have a suggestion for ways to keep from being overwhelmed?  Has simplifying a concept ever helped it to make more sense to you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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I’m a thirty-something Christian Midwestern father of one son, and have been happily married for 9 years to my beautiful wife. I love playing tennis, shooting hoops, or taking part in the occasional flag football game. Of course, I love writing and financial topics as well, and that's how this site came into being! Check me out on Google +!

Last Edited: 15th July 2010


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  1. says

    Every piece of financial advice can be distilled down to one four-word directive (actually, a two-word directive and its corollary.)
    Buy assets, sell liabilities.

    Do that enough and you can’t help but get rich. Which means being conscious of every financial transaction you undertake. Does making the minimum payment on a credit card bill count as an asset or a liability? (It’s the latter. Paying the whole thing off is an asset.) How about depositing my paychecks into my savings account because that’s how I’ve always done it? Or how about staying in this dead-end job instead of leveraging my skills?

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