Good is better than Perfect – when it comes to Finance

Michael Jordan, unarguably the best basket player of recent times said “There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player, and I don’t believe there is only one greatest player either.” But what about us…..

We strive to be perfect in whatever we do whether we go swimming, dancing, drawing, plan a project or play cricket. We try to be the best in whatever we do but we should remember that completing a task well is better than trying to make it a perfect task. We know that 20% of our time goes in doing 80% of the job and it takes us 80% of the remaining time to do 20% of the tasks (making it perfect) which means we spend a lot of time on a few tasks. But this time should be used in a better manner than searching for ways to do the perfect task. The search for perfection might never come to an end.

Good is better than Perfect

Image courtesy of ratch0013 /

You should remember the following when you are aiming for the stars –

  • Be proud of what you have achieved – In your exercise regime, you ran 2 km without stopping for the first time. You should feel elated but you are not as you are busy comparing your timing with others. It is good to set goals for oneself and be proud when you achieve it as it builds character and self confidence.If the mutual fund scheme that you have purchased is in the top 25%, be happy about it instead of whining that yours is not number 1 or in top 5. It is much better than it being in the bottom 25% performers.
  • Strive for excellence and not perfect performance – You should strive to be excellent in what you do but aiming for the perfect idea in your head might be a lot more difficult. You should compare your performance in the present to the one in past and try to get better.
  • You or your financial planner has made a financial plan. You should execute it beginning with the simple steps instead of waiting to create the dream plan with which you think will make you the richest person. You can start by investing in PPF or buying a diversified equity fund where you do not have to do much thinking but would have set the ball rolling.

carl richards

  • A completed task is better than an incomplete one – When you aim for perfection, you might end up delaying your work. This might be seen in a bad light more as compared to a job well-done with a few minor enhancements to be made later or minor faults which can be rectified. Moreover you can always learn more from your mistakes.
  • A good task takes care of steps to be taken in case of failures  – If you are doing a piece of work, you should ensure that you think of all aspects and work accordingly. This will help you identify potential faults and take appropriate steps for it.
  • Aiming for the high goal of perfection will not work practically – Pursuit of perfection makes things complicated as you might never finish your task aiming for perfection. It is better to do something well and then keep updating it with minor enhancements or improvements. This will help you to finish your tasks and also give you a sense of accomplishment. This approach will improve productivity as well.
  • Search for a perfect insurance policy or 100% exact sum assured requirement – sorry to disappoint you but its not available or at least I don’t know. You should think of buying some decent policy of some approximate amount of your requirement…. Rather than delaying the decision of buying insurance. If there was some perfect policy – don’t you think LIC & GIC was enough to satisfy us?

“The goal isn’t to make the “perfect” decision about money every time,

but to do the best we can and move forward.

Most of the time, that’s enough.” Carl Richards

If you have read my book “Financial Life Planning” – I have talked about how you can make good decisions & in third part I have shared how you can calculate your requirement – book link

What is your opinion on this topic? Do you remember anytime when you had to choose between being perfect and being good and what did you choose?


  1. Hi Hemant
    I have so far not met a person who is perfect. In fact I do not think any person can be called perfect. Every human being has some good qualities and some bad qualities. I prefer to admire good qualities of a person and ignore bad qualities. That is the only way to maintain friendship.

  2. Hi Hemant,
    The article is great. Very well presented. Managing financial aspects is a critical task but mastering the art of managing funds is not really easy. I believe no one can understand your financial status better than you for yourself. So, I try to remain regular to the funda of Income-Savings/investments=expenses.
    This way I have kept it going for quite a long time now.
    And you are absolutely right that when it comes to finances it is better to be good at some small things rather than waiting for one big perfect miracle decision.
    You simplify things in your writing, a layman can easily understand and follow your viewpoint.

  3. In moment of uncertainty,when you are going in uncharted waters.I think in my opinion it is better to take advice of a professional.At least a second opinion.

  4. Dear Hemant, well written article (as are all your posts), but my question is: dow we Indians ever aim for perfection? In my experience, our complete attitude is “chalta hai” in everything we do. That is why even with 5000+ years of history, our quality is poor in every sphere as compared to Western countries – whether it is manufacturing, service, govt. agencies, BPOs, etc.

    Same is our attitude towards our finances. We slog day-and-night to earn more, but don’t care to invest it carefully, thinking that “somehow” things will turn out well in the end. That’s why we need more people like Hemant and Vikas to show us the way!

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