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Previously I have written about the 7 Cardinal Sins and how they applied to the world of finance:
Index Of The Seven Deadly Sins Links:
Although the 7 Cardinal Sins take the spotlight, the 7 Heavenly Virtues are just as important, especially in finance.
I thought it would only be fitting to examine the Seven Heavenly Virtues and see if I could put a financial spin on them.
Initially there were 4 cardinal virtues described in the 4th century by the theologian Ambrose: Temperance, Justice, Prudence, and Fortitude.
The final 3 virtues were named by Paul the Apostle: Faith, Hope, and Charity.
With that out of the way let us begin.
Financial Virtues #1: Temperance.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines temperance as a moderation in action, thought, or feeling.
I have long been preaching that the key to success and happiness when pursuing FIRE is moderation.
Going to one extreme, frugality, or the other, being a spendthrift, is a recipe for disaster.
Nature loves balance.
Tip the scale to one side too much and everything gets out of whack.
Practicing moderation allows you to enjoy the journey to financial freedom and not sacrifice happiness just to get to the goal line.
Financial Virtues #2: Justice.
Although money is considered fungible, the ways of getting money are not.
I think we all can agree that money gained through hard work and dedication trumps money derived from illicit activities or scams.
Although Karma may not always be as quick as I would like it to be, I truly feel that there is some sort of cosmic justice to address those individuals who have wronged others.
I have been scammed many a time in my life, but, knock on wood, I have always walked away unscathed because I took the just, righteous path.
Financial Virtues #3: Prudence.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines prudence as:
- The ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason.
- Sagacity or Shrewdness in the management of affairs
- Skill and good judgement in the use of resources.
- Caution or circumspection as to danger or risk.
As I was writing those definition variants I was thinking to myself that prudence describes pretty much everything needed to succeed financially.
Going on the FIRE path requires discipline.
There will be a lot of distractions along the way.
As you move up in societal circles, especially as a physician, there is a tendency to want to be like “the Joneses.”
After years of living on a resident’s paycheck and making time and financial sacrifice, there is also a strong urge to go on a spending binge to make up for lost time.
Both of those acts could set you back years if not decades and it truly takes discipline to avoid those urges.
In order to financially succeed you also need to have sound judgement in how you deploy your limited resources (time and money) to achieve the best financial results.
A financially successful individual also limits exposure to questionable investments by not following prey to FOMO and conducting proper due diligence.
Financial Virtues #4: Fortitude.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fortitude as strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.
Most of us have faced some adversity in life.
Whether you have come from a humble background and pulled yourself up by the bootstraps to your current financial situation or have survived a horrific divorce like I have, it is our fortitude that made it possible.
The ability to persevere and not throw in the towel in less than ideal conditions can not be understated when describing how difficult it is to overcome debt which initially seems insurmountable.
There are those that cannot handle the pressure and stick their head in the sand hoping it will go away (it doesn’t).
But for those with fortitude they rise to the challenge displaying remarkable grit in order to achieve success.
Financial Virtues #5: Faith.
Building wealth is a long game.
Trying to take shortcuts or cut corners more often than not will turn around and bite you in the ass.
There is nothing ground-breaking about how to build wealth, it is simple mathematics.
For most people the discipline of math is incredibly boring, causing their eyes to glaze over.
But it basically boils down to one simple formula:
Income > Expenses
In the beginning building wealth by cutting down expenses and trying to raise income can feel like a monumentally slow process, especially if you already find yourself, like most graduating physicians, with a 6 figure debt.
But you need to have faith that the process does indeed work.
This is why financial gurus like Dave Ramsey try and create positive feedback loops with methods such as the Debt Snowball.
[I use a similar concept once I was out of debt which I call the Capital Snowball.]
Financial Virtues #6: Hope.
Hope is a very important aspect in everyone’s lives.
We obviously make investments today that we hope will grow in the future to support our future selves.
We hope that our retirement portfolio/nest egg can provide the funds to make us never want in our golden years.
We hope that we time our retirement so that we can avoid the dreaded Sequence of Return Risk (SORR).
Without hope we would fall into despair and likely try to spend our way out of it with empty materialistic items, exacerbating the situation.
Financial Virtues #7: Charity.
Think how wonderful everyone feels during the holidays.
There is substance to the saying it is better to give than to receive.
Paying it forward and helping others less fortunate is a great way to feed your soul and to recognize how fortunate and blessed you have been to be in a financial position to do so.
Vehicles such as Donor Advised Fund can be a great way to set aside appreciated assets that can be given to charities without incurring a capital gains tax.
And there you have it, a financial spin on the 7 Heavenly Virtues.
Although the 7 Heavenly Virtues do not get as much spotlight as their more flamboyant counterparts, The 7 Deadly Sins, they are no less important.
If on your deathbed you can truthfully say you have lived a blessed happy virtuous life, then you truly have lived.
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These are good, I think Fortitude is my strongest quality. It goes far 🙂
Thanks Dave. Fortitude is definitely a great one to have. If I had to pick just one I think Prudence would represent me the best
Great virtues. I think Hope is my greatest virtue.They are all good to have though.
Thanks for stopping by VP. I agree it would be nice to have a bit of all the virtues. Hope is not a bad one, gives you something to cling to when the financial skies are dark. Have a great one.