We’ve all been there, waffling back and forth between our choices.
Should I buy the iPhone or Android? Sign up for Netflix or Hulu? Open a high-yield savings account or CD?
Comedian Louis C.K. has been there before, and over at The Billfold, they point out that his general decision-making advice is perfectly applicable to all manner of financial dilemmas.
It’s the 70% rule.
In a recent GQ cover story, C.K. explained:
These situations where I can’t make a choice because I’m too busy trying to envision the perfect one — that false perfectionism traps you in this painful ambivalence: If I do this, then that other thing I could have done becomes attractive. But if I go and choose the other one, the same thing happens again. It’s part of our consumer culture. People do this trying to get a DVD player or a service provider, but it also bleeds into big decisions. So my rule is that if you have someone or something that gets 70% approval, you just do it. ‘Cause here’s what happens. The fact that other options go away immediately brings your choice to 80. Because the pain of deciding is over.
Once you’ve decided, he says, your choice just keeps getting better.
This advice applies to all types of decisions but can especially provide peace of mind for tough financial choices. By using the 70% rule, you can let yourself off the hook if you aren’t 100% sure. As long as you’ve done your due diligence and are mostly sure, end the agony of deciding, and just go ahead and make the choice.