"A Miracle of Stupidity!"

"A Miracle of Stupidity!"

June 21, 2023

However you feel about Canadian psychologist and internet firebrand Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, he certainly doesn’t shy away from the tough conversations. Likewise, in similar fashion, personal finance guru and debt reduction expert Dave Ramsey, is well know for his straight talk and at times his aggressiveness on air. Putting the two together is bound to produce some incendiary sound bites! Thankfully, for the purposes of this week’s blog, the two did not disappoint when Dr. Peterson joined The Ramsey Show a few weeks ago[i]. Specifically, what caught my attention was this quote from Peterson:

“It’s easy to assume that people are poor because they don’t have enough money but that’s an oversimplification. Very few things are attributable to a single cause…There are all sorts of causes of poverty. Certainly, one form of poverty and one cause of poverty is absence of a plan.”

                This is absolutely true! In his interview, Dr. Peterson mentions that some of the unhappiest clients that he has worked with also happened to be the wealthiest. Those same individuals lacked a plan for their lives, and by extension their finances. Without meaning or direction to keep you going it doesn’t truly matter how much money you have. Likewise, for those who consider themselves to be poor he stresses the need for a vision for your life that makes delaying gratification and avoiding impulsive spending worthwhile because, “you’re building towards something that you actually want to attain.” Dave Ramsey added that by having a vision and working towards a goal you will likely get tired, “but you’re not burnt out.”

                Many times in this blog we have discussed the need for you to have a plan for your life. This is what drives your financial decisions including where and how much to invest. When discussing this with clients, one of my favorite questions to ask is, “what about money is important to you?”  What I am getting at with this question is that money is the tool, not the objective. It can be easy to take a materialistic mindset about money and get sucked in to accumulating money for money’s sake. In the absence of a plan or vision for your life this can be an incredibly easy trap to fall into because it feels safe to stash away cash. However, in actuality this is an unsustainable lifestyle that can only result in making your hard-earned dollars inefficient and gets you no closer to meeting your goals because, frankly, you don’t have any!

                Another way to think about your vision for your life is by defining your, “Why?” Everyone has a “why” statement that drives their decisions and gets them up in the morning. It should be very specific in order for it to have any positive impact on your life. Trying to save money or attain “financial freedom” without a vision or a “why” is like trying to travel across the country without knowing your destination. If you don’t know your destination you won’t be able to recognize whether or not you have arrived.


In his interview with Ramsey, Peterson says that as a society we are, “appallingly and miraculously bad at helping people develop a vision…it’s a miracle of stupidity!” As financial advisors, one of the key things that we help people do is just that. Of course, oftentimes our conversations with clients focus on the financial component of those goals and visions but it is undeniable that the two are intertwined. Far too many people try to save but don’t plan. A much smaller percentage of people plan but don’t actually save. Make it your goal (see what I did there?) to establish a vision, set goals, and then follow through! And if you need help or a second set of eyes to look over your plan, reach out to us!


[i] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8R0D6SSLXs