The Seven Deadly Sins FIRE Edition: Acedia/Sloth
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Although popularized by the epic poem, The Divine Comedy (Divina Commedia) by Dante, the classification of the Seven Deadly Sins had an even earlier origin.
The version I am using as the basis of this series of posts will date back to the 6th Century AD using the nomenclature of the Catholic Pope, Gregory the Great.
These sins are ordered from the least deadly to the most egregious (and this series of posts will follow the same ordering).
The fourth Deadly Sin was coined Acedia (later donning the name of Sloth)
Sloth’s modus operandi is primarily one of inertia.
“Thou seest how sloth wastes the sluggish body, as water is corrupted unless it moves.”- Ovid
As humans we tend to become complacent as we develop a routine of day to day living which we rarely deviate from.
As such, we often do not act on information even though we know it is in our best interest to do so.
Because it deviates from the plan and requires effort.
As we try to be good stewards of our money with thoughts of building a financial legacy there are multiple important actions that need to be completed:
- You need an investment policy statement.
- You need to create a budget to build your financial dam.
- You need to be properly insured against the unexpected:
- Life insurance, Disability insurance, Car Insurance, Umbrella Insurance, Health Insurance, Malpractice Insurance
- You need an up to date beneficiary designation.
- You need to have a will drawn up.
- If you are a high net worth individual you need an estate plan/trust formation.
These are the gold standard items in any sound financial plan.
How many do you have in place?
I myself have fallen victim to the sin of Sloth in this matter.
I have completed the entire list except for the estate plan/trust formation.
I know I should create an estate plan due to my net worth and to avoid probate court which could siphon a percentage of my assets in fees as well as the time it ties these assets up before being distributed to my intended heirs.
But as of this moment, I have yet to act on this.
It is so much easier for me to go about my daily activities and postponing this last important step because, “I can always do it later.”
The problem with that line of thinking is if something were to happen to me before this future date (which keeps getting pushed into the future), my mistake will become permanent.
Many a time I have read a financial blog thinking that is sound advice and I should act upon it, but soon find that it falls by the wayside as Sloth and inertia are too powerful to break free from.
I remind myself that it has been several weeks (at the time of me creating this post) that I purchased the In Case of Emergency Binder.
I have gone through the sections (which are very well done) but I have yet to put pen to paper filling out the important information that would help ease the transition if something indeed happened to me.
That is Sloth, pure and simple, that has cast its spell on me.
I do find that I particularly procrastinate on things that have to deal with my demise.
I get it, no one wants to think of their own mortality and creating a will, estate plan, trust, or even filling out the In Case of Emergency Binder, is a stark reminder that our time here is limited.
However if you truly care for the people who depend on you, the sin of Sloth must be vanquished.
This is a purely altruistic and honorable action.
You certainly will not benefit from these actions, only your heirs.
Another example of how the sin of Sloth can cause havoc on your path to wealth is how you approach potential investments.
I have previously posted on Alternative Investments and spoken of the need for due diligence when evaluating a prospective offering.
In fact Diligence is the named Heavenly Virtue that counters Sloth.
“Diligence is the mother of good fortune.” ―
Any investment, alternative or not, should be researched and evaluated independently from the sponsor’s prospectus.
It is Sloth that wants you to blindly accept what is being presented to you as face value.
You may be lucky and the results achieved indeed back the initial expected returns.
Or you may find yourself in the midst of another Ponzi scheme.
Due diligence can involve asking to speak with prior investors, performing internet queries on the sponsor and the main principals for possible red flags, examining the track record of prior investments and how closely they followed the proforma, etc.
Yes it takes time and effort, both of which the sin of Sloth would rather you not do.
“We excuse our sloth under the pretext of difficulty.” -Quintilian
Due diligence cannot protect you from all negative outcomes, but it does help you go into a potential investment with eyes wide open and not blindly following Sloth.
I hope by now you realize that in order to change your financial course for the better and start the journey to wealth, it is necessary to break the inertia that Sloth feeds off of and diligently forge ahead.
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