Make Fewer Things Matter: An Epiphany From Cutting A Pineapple

“Nothing Really Matters. Anyone can see. Nothing really matters. Nothing really matters to me.”  — Harry Sit, The Finance Buff

Freddie Mercury may have reached this conclusion before the My Financial Toolbox author did, but if Queen’s lead singer were still alive, they’d be seeing eye-to-eye.

Saying that nothing matters may be going a bit too far, but Harry’s got a great point that life can be simpler and easier if you approach things in a way that make the little details matter less and less. For example, I field quite a few questions about what to do if you took some alternate approach to the backdoor Roth or didn’t follow the steps as outlined. I don’t usually have the answer because when you do it the same way every year, the what-ifs simply do not matter.

This Friday Feature was first published on The Finance Buff.

 


I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions but I decided to make this my ongoing resolution for the foreseeable future: Make Fewer Things Matter. This dawned on me when I learned how to cut a pineapple.

I grew up in a northern climate. Because transportation wasn’t very good back then, pineapples were a rare treat. Whenever I saw them as a kid, they were cut by the purveyors into this delicate spiral shape. I always had two impressions of pineapples: (a) they were expensive; and (b) they were difficult to cut.

 

The Epiphany

I saw pineapples around last Christmas in a grocery store with a big sign: $2. I thought I’d spring for a treat for only $2. There goes my first wrong impression from childhood. Pineapples aren’t that expensive.

The next step was to learn how to cut it. Naturally, I went to YouTube and I watched the first video from the search.

 

Link to video: How-To Cut A Pineapple

To my big surprise, it was amazingly easy to cut a pineapple.

How come I got the impression they’re difficult to cut? YouTube’s autoplay feature served up the next video:

 

Link to video: How To Cut Pineapple Without Waste

 

Now a light bulb went off. It’s not difficult to cut a pineapple. It’s only difficult when you want to maximize the amount of flesh. If you don’t care about maximizing the result, you can enjoy pineapples much more easily.

The lesson from cutting the pineapple connected the dots in so many issues in personal finance and investing. I came up with this motto: Make Fewer Things Matter.

The first emphasis in Make Fewer Things Matter is “make.” Things don’t stop mattering on their own. You don’t just ignore them. You do something to make them not matter. The next emphasis is “fewer.” Some things will still matter, but you reduce the number of them. Make a big list of things you think are important. Look at each item and look for ways to make it not matter. After you go through everything and you try to make them not matter, you’re left with a few things that truly matter.

2 thoughts on “Make Fewer Things Matter: An Epiphany From Cutting A Pineapple”

  1. Great article.

    I serendipitously sat next to Harry at WCI CON 20 (during your philanthropy talk, PoF) and felt like I was seated next to the Beyonce of finance. Big fanboy moment for me.

    I just finished reading his book, Explore TIPS, which was terrific. I also gave a copy of My Financial Toolbox to a young gun in my practice, who lapped up all the good advice.

    He’s a thoughtful and curious human being, and his principles of simplicity in investing are worth understanding.

    Glad to see him on this site!

    Reply
  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!

Leave a Comment