The Seven Deadly Sins FIRE Edition: Luxuria
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Index Of The Seven Deadly Sins Links:
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).
So first up to bat is Deadly Sin number one, Luxuria (later donning the name of Lust)
“Luxury is an enticing pleasure, a bastard mirth, which hath honey in her mouth, gall in her heart, and a sting in her tail.”- Frances Quarles
Luxuria is the act of self indulgence , whether it be sexual, for power/money, or extravagance.
This sin earns its right in the pantheon of financial cardinal sins for many an individual has entered financial purgatory after falling victim to this sin’s sweet siren call.
This sin does not make a distinction between the rich and the poor.
No, this sin does not discriminate.
Whether you are a high earning physician or someone relying on government assistance to get by, there are stories throughout the internet of individuals falling off of their path to success by purchasing items well beyond their financial means.
These victims fall prey to the demons of advertising and lending, whose deadly combination entices them to overextend their finances with low introductory APR special offers and extended terms so that the monthly payments appear to be reasonable.
This leads to a death by a thousand cuts as the consumer is eventually consumed by the interest from being on the wrong side of the lender-borrower equation.
Let he who is not a sinner cast the first stone.
For those following my blog from its inception (thank you by the way), you know that I completely fell for the lifestyle inflation trap that most physicians do immediately graduating from residency.
Luxuria certainly had its grip on me.
As I approached becoming an attending with the resulting “big bucks,” I felt that my current ride, a Plymouth Breeze I had bought used, was suddenly beneath me.
I thought a German
luxuria luxury car was more befitting of an up and coming interventional radiologist and thus marched right into a Mercedes dealership and “bought” one before I even finished my fellowship.
Financing the car with a 5 year term made the monthly payments seem reasonable (which was completely not the case as I was already heavily in debt from my student loans that were continuing to grow during forbearance/deferment).
Luxuria certainly blinded me from the financial path of righteousness and changed the course of my financial outlook because of it.
It is easy to rationalize the sin of luxuria as a physician:
- I deserve this! I have been delaying gratification my entire life until now. I should go for it!
- My friends and family perceive doctors as being rich. I need to look the part or they will think that I am not a good doctor.
- My income puts me in the top 1% of the country. I should therefore emulate what the other one percenters do.
- I am just starting out as an attending. I have decades of high income to look forward to. Future me can easily handle this so why do I need to delay happiness?
In our materialistic society, our social status is implicitly tied to outward signs of wealth.
This leads to extravagance of lifestyle as we all want to be “The Joneses.”
You know I would really be depressed if I was the Joneses. Everyone seems to blame me for everything.
Don’t Let Keeping Up With The Joneses Lead You To Financial Ruin – Winning Personal Finance https://t.co/ZHVsZB7uj8 #Winning #PersonalFinance @WinningPFin
— xrayvsn (@xrayvsncom) July 19, 2018
This feeds into the sin of Luxuria which grows more powerful and causes us to never be satisfied as there will always be countless ways to indulge ourselves even more.
They call it the hedonic treadmill for a reason, and luxuria is the power source.
As powerful as Luxuria can be, it can be defeated.
The key is recognition.
Creating a budget helps you silence the siren call of Luxuria by forcing you to track your cash inflow and outflow.
When you assign a purpose for every dollar that comes into your household, there will be none left for Luxuria to feed off of.
Putting a reign on cash outflow is the first step in building your financial dam and diminishing the power of Luxuria.
The classic book, The Millionaire Next Door (a must read for those who haven’t read it yet), extols the accomplishments of individuals who did not succumb to Luxuria and reminds us that outward signs of wealth can be a facade.
What are some of the ways that you have fallen into Luxuria’s grip?
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