Money is not easy. You know it, I know it. But few people talk about it. And because we’re not talking money, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone else has more of it than you do.

They don’t.

There is so much confusion when it comes to money.

In Australia, there are thousands of different investment options and providers, banking solutions, crypto investments, super fund, And the list continues. It is difficult to determine which options are the best.

Then, even if you manage to work through these options, you then need to incorporate them into a financial plan that will deliver solid results and accommodate the thousands of potential variations in your lifestyle in the future.

So yes, money can be tricky.

But the good news is that you don’t have to be an expert from day one.

If you plan to reach serious financial success, by the time you get to the finish line, you will need to have a lot of money knowledge and skills. But these are not the skills you need to get started.

The main building block of financial success is investment. And while you need knowledge to start investing, you don’t need to know everything.

For example, if you were to invest $5,000 next year, that money would be worth $248,022 in 40 years assuming a long-term Australian equity market return of 9.8%.

But, thinking that you have to be a money or investment expert before you start often leads to feeling overwhelmed, which in turn can lead to the inaction trap.

The real cost of inaction

You can see in the example above the benefit of getting started, but the flip side of this example is the real cost of not taking action.

The fact that investing $5,000 this year will likely grow to nearly a quarter of a million dollars over time means the real downside of not investing is huge. For every year you delay starting, you’re costing yourself six figures in lost wealth that you’ll never get back.

You will then have to catch up in the future, sacrifice more to get to the same position, or have to compromise on where you can go with your money.

Money is a muscle

Like any muscle, you start with the basics, and as you grow and develop you can become more complex and nuanced with your approach.

I do a lot of financial counseling and education work with professional athletes, and through that work I’ve realized that there’s a lot of crossover between being an elite athlete and being elite with their money.

When you start playing sports as a kid, you don’t jump straight into a high performance plan, a fitness framework, and all the other stuff that a professional athlete does day in and day out.

Instead, you focus on the basics. You run to improve your physical condition. You practice basic exercises to help your coordination. And you do exercises to build strength and speed, maybe push-ups or sprints.

And then you practice. Regularly. For years. Over time, you add more skills and techniques to your training routines to improve your game.

When you watch an elite athlete play sports, it seems so easy.

But what you don’t see are the countless hours of practice over years and often decades. It is this practice where skills are trained, honed and honed.

If you fast forward to the future state where you crush it with your money, at that point you’ll have all the skills you need to be there. You will have put in all the practice necessary to build your muscle for money. And you’ll make it look effortless too.

But you don’t have to be there yet.

When you’re earlier on your path to financial success, you just need to take the next step. You need to flex your money muscle to build it just a little bit so you can do the next exercise and the next variation to make the progress you want today.

Once you get there, you’ll have learned a few lessons and developed skills that will make whatever comes next easier. You then set the next goal to achieve, then chase that goal until you get there.

At this point, you will have learned more and added new skills to your toolkit, which will help you move forward.

You can see where this leads…

The envelope

If you allow it, thinking you have to be an expert from the start can get in the way of you getting started. This can prevent you from progressing. And it can prevent you from learning and building your financial muscle. Ultimately, this will prevent you from building your financial momentum.

Take action today to start generating results. Focus on your next step with your money and what you need to do to get there.

If your next step is investing, don’t think you have to be an expert from day one. This is an impossible benchmark that will keep you from getting started and building your financial momentum. And it will cost you a lot of money, but only if you let it.

Ben Nash is a financial expert, commentator, podcaster, financial advisor and founder of Rotate Wealththe host of How to be successful with money podcast and author of Amazon’s best-selling book’Unblock yourself

Ben regularly hosts free online money education events to help you make better money choices and progress faster. You can check out all the details and book your spot here

Disclaimer: The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal goals, financial situation or needs. Therefore, you should determine whether the information is appropriate for your situation before acting on it and, if necessary, seek the advice of a financial professional.