I watched the movie Seven again that starred Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, this story was about a serial killer who kills based on the 7 deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. And while watching it I was thinking that greed always reminded me of money, but the more I thought about it, each one of these sins could easily relate to money and many are inter-connected.

Lust: A Lack of Self Control
Lust is defined more as an excessive amount of sexual thoughts, but at it's core is the lack of self control, an obsessive desire that overtakes.

When I think of a lack of self control, it is about overspending when shopping. With a worse case scenario of people who shop and hoard or people who are driven to bankruptcy in trying to please their friends and family and even wasting enormous amounts of money on pornography that could be used in a better way. Their lust causes a desire that stops them from using moderation or even common sense.

Envy: The Power of Resentment
Envy is more of a generalized version of greed. It is more about the negative thoughts associated with not having. The fact that someone wearing a designer brand must be better than myself.

The power of resentment hold us back; we see the Them vs. Us and spend so much energy fighting against this unknown "better" Them, that we have no time to improve ourselves. In relation to personal finance, we may carry around a chip on our shoulder that we will never "be rich" and it weighs us down so that we can't see all the riches that already lay at our feet.

Greed: Personal Gain by Possessions
This is the most obvious of the sins. A need to acquire possessions or status via any means necessary.

The two biggest visual images that come to mind are hoarding and stories in the business section about men (and women) who have obtained great wealth by deceit and criminal activity. But it can also be as simple as buying a much to large house or car because we feel we have something to gain by it that purchasing a more modest home or car wouldn't provide to us.

Gluttony: Excessive Waste
Most often it is viewed simply as overeating. But gluttony or waste could also be -
* Spending without planning
* Buy expensively when funds aren't available
* Overspending and the item goes to waste - Dusty exercise equipment?

With that in mind, gluttony could be having a home full of items but no money just as easily as stocking up on pantry items that eventually go to waste because because too much was bought.
flickr/cc - Pleasant Crow
Pride: Self Before Help
Pride is looked upon as the worst of the sins. If we only think of ourselves and our needs before others begs the question, "When are our needs finally met so we can then turn to help others?" With many people the need to set aside a certain amount or percentage of their income to help others is very important in their life so they don't think as highly of themselves, kind of a built in humility switch.

But pride can also cause us to think too optimistically. In so much, that we don't prepare for emergencies and set aside the money to cover the rainy days; or we take risks financially that are not well researched.

Wrath: Self-fulfilling Self-destruction
Anger, vengeance, impatience and violence lead inevitably to our own downfall. We buy an item at the store and regret purchasing it when we get home and get angry and blame the salesperson for talking us into it.

Wrath works itself out in ways that interconnect with envy, we get impatient, lose self control and react in a way that doesn't use the common sense we would normally use. The power of "No" said to ourselves is easier to follow through on when we have a goal in mind to keep us on track.

Sloth: Absence of Caring
Apathy can be brought on by depression, but is usually an action to not want to understand the situation. An easy example is not reading through and understanding a contract on a car, but just signing it anyway and presuming everything with the car payment will be fine.

To neglect our finances, whether it be not balancing the checkbook or spending without forethought, is a dangerous action. The action of sloth isn't about sitting on the couch all day, but about how our lack of action is truly an pro-active force that can have adverse effects on our personal finance.

4 Comments

  1. free stuff // Wednesday, November 03, 2010 12:37:00 PM  

    Hello,
    I personally Loved the movie and Kevin Spacek. Frugality is good in all ares of life. Frugality is the same as Temperance in my opinion. But what do you have to say about "Free Stuff". Should I also be frugal when something doesn't cost me anything? I Think Not! See Me for the Free Stuff

  2. 50plusfinance // Wednesday, November 03, 2010 7:49:00 PM  

    I like the list because it plainly states the hurdles we all have to go through to do good things with our money. With anything you want to do well comes a lot of work. Sorry to say but these seven sins are the norm. Your out of the majority if you master your vices. But its a long journey to accomplish anything meaningful. We fail sometimes but hope fully get up and try again. Nice post.

  3. Dawn // Thursday, November 04, 2010 7:48:00 PM  

    @free stuff
    I like grabbing free stuff when it is available, but only if I need it. I don't grab free stuff just because it's free, I have to have a use for it or know of someone who will be able to use it immediately. I don't have a lot of storage space.

    @50plus
    I would never master my vices, to try would cause me to go mad. Imperfection makes us the perfect humans that we are. :D

  4. Jill // Saturday, November 06, 2010 6:28:00 PM  

    Love the connection between the movie and personal finance. Rings true for most topics. I think being responsible with your personal finances is no easy task. Taking the approach of the seven deadly sins to help guide you through personal finance was very interesting.