Last week, the post “Lazy Man and Jealousy” made me think about the Seven Deadly Sins. I am not a Christian. My first introduction to the Seven Deadly Sins was (embarrassingly enough) from the movie Se7en (1995) staring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. However, I’ve always been fascinated by the wisdom of ancient writings. So here is my version of the Seven Deadly Sins as it relates to personal finance:
“obsessive or excessive thoughts or desires”
This is the feeling of wants that pop in to our heads from time to time. Some of us can’t shake this until they go out and buy that object of desire.
To battle this sin: understand the difference between wants and needs.
“over-indulgence and over-consumption to the point of waste”
This is excessive consumerism — “more is better.” Some of us compulsively buy more than what we need. For instance, three bedrooms house is not enough so they go for one with five. They need shoes for every occasion. They super size everything.
To battle this sin: understand the word “enough” and learn to be satisfied with it.
“hoarding of wealth and material possessions”
This is excess beyond lust and gluttony. Some of us are not satisfied with “slow and steady win the race,” and resort to dishonest, immoral, or illegal means.
To battle this sin: understand that wealth can be acquired without resorting to those means.
“failure to utilize one’s talents and gifts”
This is the failure to empower ourselves. Some are slaves to money because they fail to arm themselves with knowledge and the courage to act.
To battle this sin: understand that knowledge and the courage to act are the keys to success.
“inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger”
I realize that we do not live in a perfect world, and life is unfair. Unfortunately, I have seen too many people who use this as their M.O. They blame their society and external factors beyond their control as reasons for their misfortune. In essence, they prevented themselves from succeeding.
To battle this sin: understand that life is unfair, but everyone is gifted with the power to make a difference.
“desire something that someone else has which they perceive themselves as lacking”
This is the “keep up with the Joneses” mentality. Some think that they cannot be happy unless they have what other people have — what they have is never enough.
To battle this sin: understand that there are a lot of people who are less fortunate; so be happy with what you have.
“desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to give compliments to others though they may be deserving of them, and excessive love of self”
This is the “I know everything” syndrome. Some of us think they know everything and they are superior to all others. But pride prevents them from learning, and tempts them to take excessive risk.
To battle this sin: understand that there is always someone smarter than you; so never stop learning.
I hope that this religious reference does not offend anyone; but instead, educate. Have a great day!