Lessons from Savannah: Simplicity is Beautiful.

Benjamin Haas |


Desiree and I just got back from spending four days in Savannah, GA. What a beautiful city full of history, gorgeous sites and amazing food! We thoroughly enjoyed the quaint feel of this place, the pocket parks that are so unique to “city living” and the true feel of Southern hospitality. Oh, and the grits.

I did a good job turning my mind away from work for those four days, instead immersing myself in historical walking tours and lots of food. But as I flew home last night, I got to thinking about what made my visit feel so special for Desiree and I. And here’s what I noticed…

Part of what made Savannah so beautiful, was its simplicity.

Savannah was designed in squares, called wards, with parks in the center. There are 22 of them in Savannah, all of them symmetrical. Public buildings (“trust lots”) anchor the squares with churches, schools, markets, etc. while beautiful residential lots surround the square, intersected by symmetrical one-way, uneven, cobblestone streets that act like traffic circles. Simple and very practical in design, yet very elegant still to this day.

Our favorite place to eat was a place called Cha Bella. What made this place so unique is that they do not have freezers on the property. Deep south and no freezers?! Everything they place on the menu is farm to table, locally sourced on that very day, fresh as fresh gets. If there isn’t fresh local arugula, then no summer salad is served. No fresh sea scallops, then forget that amazing dish I had. While restaurateurs may cringe at the added stress to prepare such a menu daily, the concept and delivery felt very simple. We eat what we have - beautiful.

Even the colonial architecture felt in a way simple, but so beautiful. We toured several homes (“mansions” by our standards) that were mostly 1700s and 1800s construction. Many felt similar in design from the outside with their pillars and porches and cast iron railings. They felt similar inside with their boxed floor plan and long hallways for airflow. Yet each had their own unique flares depending on the architect’s tastes taking what started as very simple designs, into something extremely elegant inside. Simple. Beautiful.

As I come back home to my busy life and my work, I hope this theme will continue to resonate with me. Our days and tasks can get complicated. As we pile more and more onto our plates, the harder things can get to digest. This trip has reminded me to simplify things. And to see the beauty in that simplification. From the way I run a business, to the time spent raising kids and my hope to give back to my community – I need to remind myself to simplify, simplify, simplify.

What does that mean for you, a reader of my financial blog? You need to keep it simple, too. I often tout our approach to advice as one that hopes to simplify your financial life by consolidating advice and packaging it into something very personal and digestible for you. We’re going to continue to work on how we do that. Because as your lives get busier and more complicated too, it’ll become increasing more important for us to help you simplify something as important, and at times as complicated, as managing finances.

So let’s commit to keeping your financial life simple, in hopes that you can more easily see the beauty it may bring. Thanks Savannah!

Tracking #1-750628