Building A Plan

Suppose computer programming and financial planning were alike.

Both are structured yet flexible. Both allow for modifications as time passes. Both have an input – process – output format. Neither is well understood by people who do other things for a living. There will always be errors, some of which may exist for a long time.

To understand planning notice what a programmer has to say.


One of the most outspoken and eloquent of the programmers in the 50s and 60s was Edsger Dijkstra. His wit and wisdom survives and gives us some insight into how to think about those structured problems we face.

On Elegance

In mathematics, elegant is the ultimate compliment. You should seek it in planning because it makes things work better. It is not always easy.

Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better

Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability.

How do we convince people that in programming simplicity and clarity —in short: what mathematicians call “elegance”— are not a dispensable luxury, but a crucial matter that decides between success and failure?

Try not to overthink it

First impressions and instincts are often correct. Better to get started.

There are very different programming styles. I tend to see them as Mozart versus Beethoven. When Mozart started to write, the composition was finished. He wrote the manuscript and it was ‘aus einem Guss’ (from one cast). In beautiful handwriting, too. Beethoven was a doubter and a struggler who started writing before he finished the composition and then glued corrections onto the page. In one place he did this nine times. When they peeled them, the last version proved identical to the first one.


The task is difficult enough without adding needless possibilities. The unnecessary should be left out, at least in the beginning, and effort addressed entirely to the crucial. The initial effort will be incomplete and unresponsive to factors found later in life. That is ordinary and should be accepted as such.

“The art of programming is the art of organizing complexity, of mastering multitude and avoiding its bastard chaos as effectively as possible.”

You must do something

The problems of the real world are primarily those you are left with when you refuse to apply their effective solutions.

The Best Plans and Programs

  • Simple
  • Clear
  • Flexible
  • Capable of Maintenance as circumstances change
  • Powerful
  • Predictable

No plan is error free and no process is easy.

“Our intellectual powers are rather geared to master static relations and … our powers to visualize processes evolving in time are relatively poorly developed. For that reason we should do (as wise programmers aware of our limitations) our utmost to shorten the conceptual gap between the static program and the dynamic process, to make the correspondence between the program (spread out in text space) and the process (spread out in time) as trivial as possible.” Edsger Dijkstra

Keep in touch with your plan and its purpose. Being able to visual an abstract concept gets easier by being involved more. Successful visualization is the key to effective planning. Check frequently against predesigned parameters. Use visualization to make the process more real for you.

“Visualization is simply the creation of a strong mental image of the thing desired, the perfecting it each day until it becomes almost as clear as an existing material thing.” William Walker Atkinson (1912)

Planning, like programming, is the reality making process. It is how you influence the future.

I help business owners, and professionals understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages to acquire more efficient income and larger, more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. 705-927-4770

One Comment on “Building A Plan

  1. It’s my opinion that a foreclosed can have a important effect on the debtor’s life. Mortgage foreclosures can have a 6 to few years negative effect on a debtor’s credit report. A new borrower having applied for a home loan or almost any loans for instance, knows that your worse credit rating can be, the more tough it is to obtain a decent loan. In addition, it could affect any borrower’s capability to find a decent place to let or rent, if that becomes the alternative homes solution. Great blog post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: