One Most Important Thing

George Vertue [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

George Vertue [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“I give myself sometimes admirable advice, but I am incapable of taking it.”  ~Mary Wortley Montagu

I hear you, Mary. Sometimes I give my clients advice that they do not implement and I wonder why not. I think that sometimes they choose not to take all of my advice, and I have no problem with that. I don’t take all of my doctor’s advice. But other times, I believe that they plan to act on my advice but then do not. I have assumed that they simply did not have or make the time. But one of my clients recently gave me some insight into his behavior that told a different story.

He explained that he is not very interested in the mechanics of his finances, so it was easy for him to ignore my detailed instructions for rebalancing his portfolio. Then he told me what would help him, and introduced me to his handy acronym – OMIT. It stands for One Most Important Thing. He wanted me to give him advice and instructions in bite-size chunks rather than all at once. He asked me to tell him the most important thing he should do for his finances at that moment. When he reports back that he has completed it, then give him the next action item to (not) OMIT.

I really like the concept and I now use it regularly for my own work. I think to myself, “What’s the one most important thing I should be doing right now?”. Still, I realize that everyone is different and what works for one client may not work for another. During your next financial review, let’s talk about how I can provide you with advice that best suits your style and past behavior. Maybe OMIT will work for you.