Perfection Is The Enemy Of Progress

“I wish I had started sooner.” I hear it all the time and am perfectly guilty of the same. The hot and rainy Florida summer went, in came winter, and my front and back decks were both starting to show more wear and tear. I stared at it for a year hoping it would get better, thought about doing something for another year, spent a long time this year trying to find the perfect person for the job but still did nothing.

This lack of execution is perfectly normal and permeates so many areas of our lives. Trying to find the perfect solution prevents us from doing anything at all. For some, it’s not dating at all because you’re waiting for the perfect person, not working out because you will tomorrow, holding a ton of cash waiting for the market to drop for the perfect entry point!

In my world the conversation usually goes something like this:

Me – “Mr. X, I see you’re sitting on and have been sitting on a lot of cash for a long time.”

Mr. X – “Well, the market has been doing really well and I am waiting for the big drop; then, I am going to put it all into the market.”

Me – “I see. In theory that’s a pretty sound strategy. So how much did you get into the market last April when the market dropped 35%? That would have been the perfect time, right?”

Mr. X – “Well, yes. But I got scared because the market was down, and I didn’t know what was going to happen, so I held all of my cash.”

There are so many examples within the realm of financial planning: waiting to start saving for retirement until income is high enough, sitting on cash waiting for the perfect entry opportunity, and waiting to talk to someone about preparing for retirement because you think you’re not ready. 

Perfection is the enemy of progress. Time flying by this year is a perfect example of that as the world begins to spin again and people get back toward their daily lives. I waited long enough on my decks that I ended up having to totally re-do the surfaces earlier this year. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. You won’t win.

Any opinions are those of Austin Braun and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. 

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