Is Perfectionism Ruining Your Finances (& Keeping You in Debt)?


I used to tell myself that I’d pay off my last remaining credit card as soon as I got a steady income, then I got a steady income and I told myself I’d pay off my credit card when I increased my income.

We tell ourselves that we’ll start saving when we get a higher income or we’ll finally start that business when we take an entrepreneurship course.

We’re waiting for that perfect moment when the stars align and everything works in our favour and we can finally live our destiny.

The truth is: there is no perfect moment. Our finances won’t change, unless we change and stop waiting for favourable circumstances.


How Perfection Ruins Our Finances


1. Keeps us financially stuck


Perfectionism is about keeping up appearances to get approval from yourself or others, which leads us to create a false perception of our lives.

This pretence makes it difficult for us to admit our flaws, which makes it difficult to change toxic financial situations; because the first part of a breakthrough is admitting you have a problem.


2. Increased debt


Perfectionists hate being criticised, which sometimes leads us to spend money we don’t have to keep a good image. 


 3.Decreased savings


I used to struggle with saving my income and investing my money.

I believed that for me to be able to save and invest my money and get to the next level, I needed to earn more money and have no debts. In short – my life had to be perfect before I could save anything.


4.Decreased income


Perfectionism promotes procrastination.

Perfectionists are always waiting to have more skills, more networks or something before they take advantage of opportunities.

My perfectionist issues would stop me from doing anything I could publicly fail at, which kept me stuck as an entrepreneur because I’d cling to my comfort zone, which limited my earning potential. This also impacted my writing because I’d never share my imperfections with people.

A few years ago, sharing all these personal things about myself would have brought on a depression episode in my life, which in turn would’ve stopped me from making the connections I’m making with all of you.


Are You A perfectionist?


A recent blog post by Allen Wastler, argues that  our society struggles with socially prescribed perfectionism and describes 3 types of perfectionists:


1.Self-oriented perfectionist


Demand perfection of themselves and constantly seek compliments from others by bragging about all their achievements.


2. Other-oriented perfectionist


Demand perfectionism from others and spend a lot of time criticising others and avoiding situations that may reveal their flaws.


3. Socially prescribed perfectionist


They think others demand perfection from them and have a hard time admitting mistakes or failure

Looking at my track record, I’d say I struggle with socially prescribed perfectionism; for the longest while I’d never attempt something if I wasn’t sure I would succeed.



How to Stop Being a Perfectionist & Improve Your Finances


1.Love what is


Accept that this moment is it, you have the experience you have and the life you have and that’s your starting point. Work with the income you have to start paying off your debts and start saving, don’t wait for tomorrow or the perfect job before you get started, just do it.


2.Ask for support


Admit your limitations and talk to professionals like coaches or financial advisers to help you get yourself financially on track.


3.  Welcome criticism


See criticism as someone’s opinion and not a judgment on you. I've come to understand that the most important thing is how I respond to criticism and not that I received criticism.


4. It’s all in the process


Most of us are afraid of failure, so we live life from a point of minimizing failure instead of maximizing wins.

Give yourself room to fail, accept that when you take risks and do something new you’ll have a few hiccups.

You may even find that what you thought was failure was critical to your success.


5. Focus on the positive


It’s so easy to see how we’re “failing” financially.

As a perfectionist I have to constantly teach myself to stop finding flaws to “correct” in myself and my life and to see the positive so I can remain motivated to achieve my financial goals.


How is your quest for perfectionism impacting your finances?

Let me know in the comments section below.