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7 deadly sins that lead to debt

Financial sinners won't have to wait for the afterlife to be punished for their various misdeeds. Plenty of consequences await in the here and now.

Presented with choices daily, human beings can lead chaste and charitable fiscal lives. Or they can succumb to fleeting temptations and fatal traps.

So choose to commit these deadly sins -- or work to bring a little temperance into your spending.

7 deadly debt sins:
5 Feel wrathful at everyone but yourself
Blame others for your own financial missteps. That way you never have to learn anything new.
Lenders aren't in the business of making sure you save money and don't overspend.
"The savings crisis and the household debt crisis are directly related to each other," says Ronald Wilcox, author of "Whatever Happened to Thrift? Why Americans Don't Save and What to Do about It," and professor of business administration at the University of Virginia.
"We wouldn't see foreclosures go up as quickly if people had a cushion of savings."
So wrath, when targeting others, is often misdirected. Developing a strategy for your finances is a personal responsibility, says Wilcox.
"On the corporate side of things, companies can do things that can make it easier for people to figure out how to save and save in an effective way," says Wilcox. "And the same goes for the government. They can make it easier for people, but can't force anyone to do anything."
For instance, companies can automatically enroll their employees in their retirement plans, but participation in a savings plan can't be a condition of employment. Similarly, the government provides tax incentives for saving in retirement accounts such as IRAs, but you can't be thrown in jail for not taking advantage of it.
To avoid messy situations, develop a budget with both savings and debt pay-down strategies -- and stick to it.
"It's much easier to tell yourself and your kids 'no' if you know what the spending limits are. Everyone in the family should know that they can't get everything they want because the money is just not there," says Terry Rigg, editor of Budget Stretcher, a Web site and newsletter.

 

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