First Person: The Seven Deadly Sins of Personal Finance

Yahoo Contributor Network

As my daughter refers to them, the "big seven" are traits that make you a miserable person that no one wants to befriend. However, they are also traits that will take you down the golden path to financial ruin. In my twenties, I flirted with the sinful side of finances and got singed.

Through a lot of hard work, I have pulled my finances out of the fire. Thankfully, the financial lessons I learned keep me from backsliding when the "big seven" begin to seduce me again. If you are committing financial sin, repent quickly!

The Seven Deadly Sins of Finances

  • Pride: also known as vanity, it is the excessive belief in your own abilities. I thought I knew how to manage my own finances and refused to listen to experts. Admit you need help and find an experienced financial advisor or take some financial classes.
  • Envy: the desire for others' traits, abilities or, in my situation, others' belongings. I thought I deserved what other people had even though I may not have worked as hard as they did for what they bought. Realize that life is not fair and you are not entitled to everything someone else may own.
  • Gluttony: the desire to consume more than you require. Collectibles, clothes, shoes, purses . . . the list was endless. Knowing the difference between a 'need' and a 'want' was essential to overcoming this financial sin.
  • Lust: the overwhelming craving for the pleasures of the body. This financial sin is the seductive sibling of gluttony. Satisfying every sinful desire to purchase something just to make me feel better was wearing out my checkbook. I controlled my desire to spend money by investing in my future rather than living in the moment. I realized that having an emergency fund and a retirement account was more important than immediate desires.
  • Anger: a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility. This financial sin would sneak up on me and take me by surprise. I hated not having money when I wanted something so I would use credit to get what I wanted. Learning to manage debt, create a budget and stick to that budget helped me understand how to manage my finances to have more money for the things I wanted.
  • Sloth: the avoidance of work. Anything worth having is worth working for - - including a healthy finances. I did not enjoy making budgets, balancing my checking account and paying bills (it was not as fun as spending the money). LearnVest helped me find better ways to budget while learning about personal finances.

The last financial sin is probably the worst because it feeds all of the others and is the true basis for financial ruin:

Greed: an excessive and selfish desire to possess excessive amounts of something.

Greed loves immaturity so the only way I could put this sin behind me was to grow up. I had to learn that money does not grow on trees (wow, my father's words came back to slap some sense into me). Only by respecting my personal finances did I finally quit dangling my feet into the fire. I became greedy for financial strength. By turning greed into something positive, my finances grew stronger and I avoided financial purgatory.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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