Who said ”watching paint dry is as dull as financial planning”?

Debbie Harris
May 2023  •  5 min read

Who said ”financial planning is as dull as watching paint dry”?

I’m sure lots of people have actually said/thought that … and in many ways, financial planning done well is indeed a lot like the painting process.

I spent most of last weekend with a paint brush in one hand and a roller in the other and I had a lot of time to bemoan my utter loathing of anything ‘DIY’ whilst I cracked on and did what was necessary.

It occurred to me after I stepped back and examined the end result of my frustrating (and frankly downright painful at my age) labours, that financial planning is A LOT like painting a room …

You first have to admit the need to make a change; then you have to make some decisions about what you want to do and when you want to do it; then it’s time for organising your equipment (I have discovered that a telescopic pole to extend one’s roller is a MUST); and then it’s the big one … pick a day and just ‘start’ – the preparation is the slog … I was taught well by my father though – sugar soap the walls, fill any blemishes, do the cutting in – and most importantly (like a mantra!) “let the roller do the work”.

There are obstacles in the way, literally and metaphorically – the family dog kept wanting to ‘help’ and I slightly under-estimated my paint quantity requirements (spotting this before it became a problem; meant I only had to make a small adjustment to my plan and simply ended up using a slightly different shade on one wall).

The bulk of the time you are painting ceilings and walls, it is dull, unglamorous, tedious, painstaking and seems to go on forever.  But … that moment when you know you are loading the roller for the last time … pure joy!  Until you look back at what you’ve done and it looks patchy because it’s wet – which is totally normal but gut wrenchingly soul-destroying.

So you shuffle off to spend what feels like another lifetime cleaning paint out of the brushes, rollers, trays etc; you remove stray paint from your hair, your glasses and your elbow and you get cleaned up.

You avoid looking at the room for a good hour or two (read what it says on the paint tin) – and then you tentatively go back in and check … and lo and behold – it’s glorious.  It’s a thing of beauty – you send pictures of it to your friends and tell them how wonderful it looks (they say the right things in response of course – but how excited can you get about a ceiling and four walls?!).

And you pat yourself on the back (rightly so – but gently because that aches too) – the preparation, the planning, the hard graft, the mental effort, the tedium, the waiting – all absolutely worth it.