Here’s some examples of perfectionism thinking:
- “I overspent on Postmates last week, my budget is shot, I might as well throw it away entirely” (the “I ate one cookie so I might as well eat the whole package”)
- “Why bother saving an emergency fund, because you don’t get any good interest on a savings account, so it’s not worth it anyway”
- “The stock market went down yesterday, so I should never invest because it always goes down”
- “I can’t buy this item, because I have to find the perfect version of this item, even if it means spending way more time than the item brings me value”
- “I’m never going to have enough to retire, so I shouldn’t bother saving. I’ll be living on cat food”
- “I should optimize my food spending”
“Last week the Federal Reserve Board of Governors released its report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, the source of one of the most misleading statistics in America (and there are many contenders). Politicians and many journalists cite it when they say 40% of Americans can’t afford a $400 expense. If you believe it, it sounds like many households are a single event—such as a car break down or a hot-water heater repair—away from dire poverty. But the report says something slightly, but significantly, different.”
“I recently got inspired to seek out stories of people in the personal finance community to find out what decisions people had made to improve their lives that might not make financial sense. This concept seemed to resonate with a lot of people.
When I asked, I began to hear stories of people choosing to work fewer hours, choosing jobs that offered more work-life balance and time to focus on things they enjoyed, traveling the world, and even quitting side hustles.
These are the kinds of stories we don’t always hear, given that much of the focus of personal finance is on making and/or saving more money.”