“The perfect is the enemy of the good,” it’s said. Sometimes we want something to be so perfect, we end up not even creating something good.

Needing things to be perfect is also the enemy of just getting started. Waiting for Mercury to not be in retrograde and for stars to align before making a move just doesn’t cut it. (Astrology fans will know that’s about to happen now anyway, so we officially have no excuses.) There may never be a “perfect” time.

So much about managing money is about tweaking our settings in the present. Small adjustments like setting up an automatic payment to “pay ourselves first” into a separate account – which takes all of 15 minutes online – can reroute our finances to fantastically different results.

We’re actually a lot more in control than it seems sometimes. Not ultimate control, mind you, but definitely enough to nudge the rudder, trim our sails and clearly change direction.

So what’s your course for the year ahead and beyond?

  • Do you want a better holiday?
  • A Christmas without debt?
  • Would you like to be giving more?
  • Is it time to leave the store cards behind?
  • Pocket money for the kids?
  • Time to switch out some tired furniture?
  • Better sports gear? A new kayak?

Any of these can be achieved in the months to come by setting up an automatic payment into a savings account. Sorted’s goal planner and savings calculator can help us put it in writing and do the sums, but really it’s about tweaking our online banking. We all just need to decide now.

Once they’re set up, these slight adjustments are typically out of sight, out of mind. They grow gradually in the background, and then pleasantly surprise us when it’s spending time.

What if we want it all?

Of course, we may want all the things on that list above – and a whole lot of others, too. It would be “perfect” to have them all in place.

But beware: having too many options is just another “enemy” of getting started. We just need to pick one to get things underway, to get some momentum happening. What’s most important to us right now?

Once we have a new norm in place, it won’t be long before we have something to show for it.

This present bodes well for the future, too

These are the same sort of tweaks that build significant wealth in the long term, as investment funds are built on regularly drip-feeding into the market and taking advantage of compounding interest.

As seen in this investor kickstarter example, if we leave $10,000 in a growth fund for 25 years it becomes $19,400. Add $50 a week, on the other hand, and it becomes $121,700. Those regular contributions harness the market.

This is how we can tackle the big challenges, like funding retirements and our ever-longer lives. By starting in the present, we can make a huge difference for the future – for ourselves, our whānau, our communities.

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