It’s Not About Perfect – Just Micro Steps

I ran into a friend the other day that I have known for a long time. She is just one of those great people all around. In passing she mentioned reading the Money Vikings blog and trying to incorporate some of the concepts and ideas into her own life. But she said it in a way that she kind of felt bad about her “financial failings”.

“I like reading the blog, but it makes me feel bad sometimes…”

I felt bad when I heard this because the point of the blog is not make people feel bad about their financial failings. The point of the blog is to inspire, learn and lift everyone up! Like the whole point of our blog is to help, inform and motivate others to improve their finances for their own lives. It kinda made me sad to think that the blog information would make someone feel kinda inadaquate.

So here is the TRUTH: No one is “perfect” with money. Very few are “great”. Some of us can in general be “good” with money with some simple tricks. But the point here is that we all have areas that we may need to improve. in other words, aren’t we all in some way a hot mess? It is the human condition in many ways.

My friend felt a little bad about her $5 coffee habit. But I thought to myself, maybe that is important to her and maybe she likes having that fancy coffee sometimes. Who was I to preach on a blog about how people should not do this? I responded to her by asking if she was contributing to her employers pension/401k plan. And she was. I instantly thought, hey, she has an important piece in place. Buy the coffee and enjoy the treat. I have my fair share of “mistakes” on my investment journey.

Here are a few:

  • Racked up some debt in college that I needed to pay off.
  • 20 years ago tried a couple times to work as an investment advisor, but found I did not fit in these two environments.
  • Bought a condo that skyrocketed to a value of about $300k during the housing boom, only to fall to about $150k over the next two years. Fortunately I just continued to rent it out until I could sell it for about my purchase price. This took about ten years.
  • Done my fair share of meals out, coffees, impulse buys on Amazon, etc.
  • Got divorced and split a $40k savings account in half overnight.

You get the imperfect picture?

There is no perfect. We live in this Facebook/Instagram world where most people only post the snapshots from the best or funniest moments of their lives for all to see. They typically do not post the worry, regret, hemorrhoids, bad day at work, financial struggles, etc. When they go on vacations they do not show you the image of them waiting bored in the airport for 6 hours or crammed onto a flight or losing their luggage. No, you just get to the see the perfect photo of them on the beach.

Micro Habits

BJ Fog has a popular book out about the power of tiny habits. These are habits we can do within a minute and are just one small step in the right direction. I think this is an incredibly powerful concept. We have touched on this concept in earlier posts about the power of habits.

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The Power of Habits & Ways To Enhance Them Millionaire Habits & Factors

Have the coffee!

We are not here to lecture people about what they should and should not do. My take would be, if you want the expensive coffee each day, then find another positive “financial” habit to counteract that one. So for example, up your 401k contributions a bit so that you are harnessing a good habit in this regard while enjoying your daily treat that helps you through the day.

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