Tips & Advice

Occam’s Razor and the Beauty of Simplicity

By John Hollyman04 Dec 2014

The Catholic philosopher William of Ockham is (somewhat erroneously) credited with ‘shaving away’ unnecessary assumptions and details to arrive at the simplest possible conclusion. This principle of minimalism has been used in fields as diverse as art, engineering and science to clarify thinking and achieve great results.

In the context of financial planning, we adopt the philosophy of Occam’s Razor by using enough complexity to achieve your goals, while eliminating or reducing complexities that don’t help you make progress towards the things in life that are most important to you.

There is often a tendency for professional advisers (whether financial planners, lawyers or accountants) to devise a technically brilliant solution to save tax, protect assets or, frankly, make themselves appear knowledgeable and thus valuable, justifying the fees they charge.

Sometimes the benefits of these strategies are great enough to warrant the introduction of significant complexity, but we think it is important to question whether the added complexity is worth it?

The key question to ask before implementing any strategy (or investment for that matter) is ‘does this help me achieve what is important to me?’ If free time and the ability to travel and be ‘off the grid’ for extended periods is important to you, then a strategy, no matter how brilliant it may be, that requires ongoing input is not going to be appropriate.

There are enough complexities in life that are out of our control, what could you simplify to help you achieve your goals?


John Hollyman

John’s clients say it is his attention to their story, his ability to lead their journey to discovering wealth and his fundamental desire to get things done that sets him apart from others in his field, while his peers quote trustworthiness, clear strategic thinking and thoroughness that goes above and beyond expectations.

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