This is an article written by Jesse Michelsen, the creator of Personal Finance Firewall. On his site he writes about taking every tiny detail into account when managing personal finances, and gives tips on ways to make it easier for those with full lives.
I often listen to motivation speeches and read spiritual, uplifting material. It's really positive and always has great life lessons we can learn, regardless of your religious choices.
A couple years back I heard a speech by a prominent religious motivational speaker about sin and sacrifice. This man spends a lot of his time with people of his faith and in he speech he talked about a common trend he noticed among them. He noticed that, while the majority of them did great spiritually, and followed the word set by their faith on all of the major sins; Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not commit adultery, when it came down to the little things like honesty, greed or gluttony, many of them fell short.
So he started privately asking people, “Would you give up sinning in order to go to Heaven?”
They of course would exclaim, “Absolutely!”
and follow it with, “Would you give up your favorite sin, in order to go to Heaven?”
He would point out that some of the really small sins, that people often forget about and more often than not, do commit without even thinking about it, are still sins. Even some of the major sins that were punishable by death back in biblical times, are now every day things, generally accepted in our present culture.
Relating this back to finance, debt and general financial ignorance are just as generally accepted in our culture. Even around here, among you and I that read and write personal finance advice and are trying to improve our financial situation, sometimes we are unwilling to give up or even unaware of the small financial sins we commit.
There are many financial “sins” that are often written about that I would consider the major financial sins. Things such as cashing out your 401k after leaving a job; carrying a balance on your credit card; or paying the minimum due on your debt. These are big sins, and usually the first to be tackled when seeking financial redemption. And although I wouldn't go as far as saying these are the easy sins, because they are some of the bigger ones they are easily avoided.
But what about the small sins, your favorite financial sins?
Things like overspending on Christmas, getting a new cell phone every year, or going out to lunch every day at work. These things are culturally acceptable, even among some circles of the personal finance niche, these are no big deal, but these small things can still really hurt your financial situation especially because they can open the door to bigger problems.
I have experienced all of these small financial sins, and really enjoy them to tell you the truth. These are some of my favorite financial sins, but in order to achieve financial freedom, even these small financial sins have to be avoided.
Do you have a favorite financial sin? Are you willing to give it up to achieve your financial goals?
Image by jonycunha