Stop Being A Perfectionist - That Includes Being A Perfectionist With Your Money
You don't have to be perfect. Nor do you have to be an expert. That includes your investing chops.
How many times have you felt the need to be perfect?
How many times in the past month? Week? What about today? Did you avoid doing something because you didn’t want to look foolish or to make a mistake or to fail? Reshma Saujan’s book Brave, Not Perfect got me thinking about perfectionism’s role in my life and how it was holding me back.
As women, society dings us for not being perfect. Whether we judge ourselves too harshly or we get judged more harshly at work than men, being perfect is the bane of our existence.
It impacts us in our career, when we don’t apply to that job or take on that beefy project because we don’t meet 100% of the qualifications. It impacts us when we avoid trying new things like that martial arts class I’ve procrastinated on attending. And guess what? It impacts us on our finances and investing.
I can’t tell you how many times a girlfriend will tell me,
“I haven’t looked into investing because I’m scared I’m going to make a big mistake.”
Wow. Damn. That’s real. And without proper knowledge, that could happen. But society has also programmed us to avoid taking small risks, to become experts before trying, that we’re bad at money, and that we need to be perfect.
Y’all enough is enough. We need to get over our need to be perfect by taking small, educated risks and cultivating a growth mindset.
Ask for help. Make, own up, and share your mistakes so we can learn from them. Take a step in learning and relish being uncomfortable when you don’t understand it on the first try. Remember that there is no crystal ball of investments that only the Dave Ramseys of the world get to use. Stop telling yourself that you need to be an expert.
Even writing this article was hard. I was choosing perfection at first.
What if I offend someone with this article (I might have. I'm so sorry)?
What if it’s too long (it probably is… y’all, is it?!?)?
Is there a typo in here that I’ve missed before it goes out to loads of people?
Then I decided to be brave and share anyways, typos included (jk, even my bravery has limits).
And I also decided to be brave by learning about investing. I decided to be brave and rollover that 401K I was ignoring and finally open that damn IRA (what, you've been ignoring it, too?). I decided to be brave and put a little disposable income into ETFs. I decided to be brave and negotiated a discount from a vendor.
And you can be brave, too. Be brave in learning and be brave in taking a small investing step. Remember, we're not financial advisors, this isn't financial advice, and we're not experts, either. So do your research first.