The 7 Deadly Sins of Personal Finance

by RJ

in Psychology

The 7 Deadly Sins are more universal than you think. While I don’t remember reading Dante’s Inferno  my senior year of high school (bad case of senioritis), I do remember seeing the movie Seven with Brad Pitt.

Below is my own interpretation of the 7 deadly sins, this time with a personal finance twist.

  1. EnvyTrying to keep up with the Jones’s – Even though, the Jones’s are broke, in debt, spend more than they earn, have a house they can’t afford, take 3 vacations a year on credit, etc… You still want to be more like them.
  2. Gluttony - Spending More Than You Earn – Just like with calories, you can easily consume excess in personal finance. All you have to do is spend more than you earn each month. Doing this each month, has a 100% failure rate.
  3. GreedWanting More, When What You Have is Enough – Even though you have accumulated more than enough to live on, you still find it necessary to work 14 hour days avoiding your friends and family and other things more important to you.
  4. LustThe Love of Money – Putting money first above family, friends, religion, contribution, etc…
  5. PrideBelieving Common Sense Doesn’t Apply to You – Thinking that the fundamental rules don’t apply to your situation because you’re better than everyone else. You don’t find it necessary to pay yourself first, start an emergency fund before you invest, or track your spending. You’re better than everyone else.
  6. Sloth - Knowing What You Need to Do, And Doing Nothing At All – You know you have to maintain your checking account to avoid overdraft fees, or you have to perform a monthly review, or you need to sit down with your spouse and talk about money. You’re just too lazy to do it today.
  7. WrathGetting Angry At Things You Can Control – It’s not your fault you spent more than you earned last month. The problem was the car broke down because you hand’t changed the oil in 15,000 miles. Neither was it your fault that Christmas came in December this year and you had a ton of extra expenses. You just can’t control what happens every month.


While this was fun to write, there is a lot of truth behind it.  Never let yourself fall into one of the seven deadly sins of personal finance.

There are many different interpretations you can have on the seven sins, would you change anything?

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KenNo Gravatar January 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I have an 8th one…don’t spend money you don’t have (yet)..”Oh, we’ll get something back on income taxes..go ahead and buy it on credit”…or “I’m getting my raise next month, go ahead…”..sometimes raises don’t happen…I know from experience.

RJNo Gravatar January 15, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Agree Ken. There are plenty of more sins. Spending your money you don’t have, is a big one.

GeorgeNo Gravatar January 13, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Great ideas. I think we can all be much happier by avoiding the 7 Deadly Sins!
.-= George´s last blog ..Connecting with Favorite Authors through the Internet =-.

JoelNo Gravatar January 13, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I see Lust more as the desire for more stuff. Think about how much money you’d have if you’d saved or invested your money instead of buying that Mini-Disc player.
.-= Joel´s last blog ..Cruel to Be Kindle: What Are the Best E-Readers? =-.

RJNo Gravatar January 14, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Thanks Joel. When I was making out the list, I could imagine going a different direction on a few of them. Thanks for your input.

JoshNo Gravatar January 13, 2010 at 5:18 pm

The sloth one fits me well. What are some ways to overcome that procrastination attitude when dealing with personal finance?
.-= Josh´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

RJNo Gravatar January 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Implement habits and don’t break them. For example, tell yourself you will review the budget every Friday and stick to it.

AnastasiaNo Gravatar January 18, 2010 at 8:04 am

what works for one person would not work for another. some people hate creating and following an action plan (and there is a whole psychological theory behind different types, MBTI) – so for those who can’t/aka don’t want to have an action plan with timelines and goals there must be a different advice.
I would have thought of something like – meet up with a friend to talk about how you are keeping to your budget (so your friend becomes the action plan on track checker) but of cause it still requires that you stick to your budget on the day to day basis it just removes the “let’s plan for it and let’s pencil it into the calendar)
.-= Anastasia´s last blog ..100 Years of Spending in Pictures =-.

AnastasiaNo Gravatar January 18, 2010 at 7:59 am

R.J., I really like this post!:-) I personally would add more flesh around the implications or offer a step in the “right direction” … that R.J., I really like this post!:-) I personally would add more flesh around the implications or offer a step in the “right direction” …

that said, I am not sure what those “right steps” would be as it is quite a difficult topic, our spending habits are more than just an irrational action grounded in an ill-judgment or laziness.

It has a lot to do with our self-esteem, addiction behaviour and lack of basic financial education
.-= Anastasia´s last blog ..100 Years of Spending in Pictures =-.

RJNo Gravatar January 18, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Great point Anastasia. Thanks for the excellent comment.

You have to make personal finance, very personal. What works for me willn’t work for everyone else.

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