100 Words On: When Financial Perfection Is the Enemy of Good

When it comes to matters of personal finance, trying to find the optimal solution can be counterproductive simply because many decisions don’t require extensive research. One of the best examples of this is when comparison shopping for a certain product or service. Typically, a modest survey of three to five samples is all that’s necessary before enough information is available to make an enlightened decision.

The bottom line: Whether you’re choosing a new refrigerator or a 24 hour plumber, trying to make the perfect choice usually results in wasted time and energy. Sometimes “good enough” really is okay.

Photo Credit: tinyfroglet

10 comments to 100 Words On: When Financial Perfection Is the Enemy of Good

  • Amen. This is good advice for most of the important decisions we have to make.

  • A great concept. I was in the unique position of purchasing my first car at age 43 (my employer provided company cars all this time, but killed that perk).
    I’d read and heard so much about the experience of purchasing, that I make the decision to buy the same car three people I’m close to all had. I’d driven in it, knew it had great ratings, etc, why continue research three friends already did? I googled to find the price to pay, some $4K or so below MSRP and walked into a dealer. The guy literally did not know how to handle a customer who knew exactly what he wanted, and I walked out. Seems he had a script to follow and I didn’t have the patience.
    Next dealer took my check and I picked up the car three days later.

    • Len Penzo

      I’m with you, Joe. That is exactly how I operate. On the other hand, I know lots of people who will make a career out of researching a purchase and then lay awake at night fretting over whether they found the absolute best deal.

  • I’m guilty of over-analyzing purchases. But, I usually have a long time to think about items as I am saving up to buy them. I rarely make purchases I regret.

  • There are only a few exceptions to good enough, they are brain or heart surgeon (perhaps any doctor)!

  • If at first you don’t succeed, lower your standard. :D

  • In our town, there are only three places we can buy appliances and they are on the same street so we don’t have to drive long distance.

  • The 80/20 rule is a good one in general. The time and energy spent in trying to hit perfection on one item could have been used to become really good in other items. Hitting perfection in one item doesn’t help if you let a lot of other areas stagnate.

  • Heck yes! Don’t waste your time comparison-shopping for toilet paper. Your time and energy is limited. Direct it to the big things.

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