It won't all work out

Written by
Peter Dunn

I'm a positive person. You have to when you're a ginger. People expect it. Hell, I look a bit like a clown. No one wants to see a negative clown; therefore I maintain a chipper disposition. And although I'm generally optimistic, I'm also a realist. My realist side has something to say -- all the optimism in the world can't fix broken math.

I've spent nearly two decades trying to convince people money is about behavior and not math. For a select group of people this resonates, and therefore they act. They set out to identify ugly behaviors, switch-out routines, and like magic, they begin to achieve self-control. As you might've noticed, I used specific phrasing to describe these people -- "a select group." The reason for my choice should be glaringly obvious. Even when people accept that their financial life is a serious of behaviors, that doesn't mean they're going to take action and change their behaviors.

Again, leaning into behavior has been my approach for quite some time. But I'm openly questioning the effectiveness of this methodology. Yes, some people are able to learn, change, and grow. But what about the majority? By the way, the majority, as witnessed by nearly every personal finance statistic readily available today, is failing to create stability and security. The majority has decided collectively, or mystically as a large group of individuals who happen to have made the same decisions, to ignore their behavior's role in creating the financial life they want. In varying degrees, this is equal parts ignorance, delusion, and denial.

What fixes those folks? Heady, introspective discussions on behavior and habits hasn't done the trick. Discussions of mathematics don't quite seem like they'd do the trick either.

Maybe the answer is brute honesty. So honest, that a person gets a very ugly look at what the future holds, like the ghost of Christmas future.

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