George Seurat spent over two years, painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grand Jette.” It’s nearly 7 by 10 ft and occupies an entire wall in the Art Institute of Chicago. The painting depicts a lovely landscape with lakeside visitors, including various people in 1896 garb, complete with dogs and even a pet monkey. Standing at the entrance to the hall where the painting is hung, you can feel a part of the lovely, sunny afternoon in Paris. But stand closer and all you see are yellow, red and blue dots, each carefully positioned to contribute to the painting as a whole. Seurat was a pointillist and his painting teaches us a valuable lesson in perspective. As planners, it’s so easy to become myopic, way too focused on giving answers than discovering solutions. Stand back. Be sensitive to what your clients are feeling and seeing, include them in the process and help them discover their best-choice solutions, instead of yours. Remember, what you see depends upon where you stand.
Deena Katz, CFP®
Evensky & Katz
Associate Professor, Personal Financial Planning Division, Texas Tech University