The 7 Cardinal Virtues of Money

“Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall” – William Shakespeare

When you take a look at the way the world runs, you could be forgiven for thinking that it pays to follow a less than honorable path in life. There’s lots of money to be made in the pursuit of nefarious activities, and they often provide a tempting lure for those who seek to get rich.

On the other hand, you will see decent, law-abiding citizens who have made positive contributions to society, struggling to make ends meet. In some cases, taking the righteous route can actually work to your detriment. When it comes to money, is there any value in being virtuous?

Last week, we looked at how the seven deadly sins – lust, gluttony, greed, envy, sloth, wrath and pride – can negatively impact your finances. In the age-old battle of good vs. evil, let’s see how the seven cardinal virtues of money may counteract the destructive effects of the seven financial vices.


Like an avenging angel, the virtue of chastity seeks to liquidate the lustful longings for the luxurious life. While we normally associate chastity with sexual abstinence, it can be defined as purity in any type of conduct and intention, and also means personal integrity and honesty.

Being chaste with your finances infers that you avoid situations that could tempt you to lust for expensive trinkets that you can’t afford, such as window shopping by the jewelry store. Financial chastity could also be attained by being honest about your financial situation by creating a budget.


In this consumer age that glorifies gluttony and cripples contentment, we’re constantly bombarded with advertisements that urge us to want more and to get it all now. Opposing overconsumption, the virtue of temperance promotes restraint, self-control and deferred gratification.

Financial temperance is an important attribute to develop as it teaches you to be disciplined with your money, and it encourages you to put a higher value on saving over spending. Temperance also develops wisdom which can help you to make the right financial decisions all the time.


In the movie Wall Street, corporate raider Gordon Gekko uttered the memorable words, “Greed… is good.” His idea was that an insatiable desire to attain wealth helps development. Charity, or self-sacrificing love, combats evil greed which can lead you to discount others in your quest for wealth.

If you have charity in your heart, you won’t be tempted to step on others as you rise up the ladder at work, or pursue activities in which you win at the expense of other persons’ wellbeing. You will truly put people first, even if it temporarily slows down your wealth acquisition process.


People will find myriad excuses for their lack of wealth, but their own laziness is rarely counted as a factor. Financial sloth, or an unwillingness to fully utilise your talents to earn, is put to rest by the championing virtue of diligence which promotes a strong work ethic and persistent effort.

When you apply diligence to your earning endeavours, you will take the time to learn new ways to create income, adjust your strategies after undesirable results, and be bold when selling your offering to the public. You will not let the negative responses deter you in your search for wealth.


It’s been quipped that ‘patience is a virtue, but too much of it can hurt you’. While patience in the form of inaction can sometimes lead to financial loss, patient forgiveness is essential to combat the vice of wrath which often leads people to make rash, emotional decisions spurred by anger.

Patience prevents you from taking actions that you may regret. Patience can diffuse hateful words which may be spoken in the heat of money arguments. Patience can save a relationship which may be destroyed because one party is annoyed with the lack of financial progress of another.


This virtue is closely linked with charity, as it only when you have true love for others that the spirit of kindness will be shown. Kindness in your financial dealings is the counterpart to envy, which causes you to resent other people’s progress and try to derail them or even destroy them.

Kindness permits you to congratulate someone who got promoted instead of you; makes you genuinely happy when your neighbour buys a new car and you can’t afford one; and allows you to put aside some of your money for the less fortunate even though you have your own problems.


If pride is the most dangerous of the deadly sins, then humility is the strongest virtue of them all. All other virtues depend on your possessing a humble spirit; when you are humble, you don’t let pride cloud your thinking. It’s been said that humility doesn’t make you think less of yourself, it lets you think of yourself less.

Humility allows you to seek and implement personal financial or business advice that can steer you in the right direction. It also helps you to recognise that your eventual success is not self-made, and to acknowledge all the other people who may have contributed to your achievement.

You can learn about other positive attitudes that can help you to be successful with money in my eBook, The 3 M’s of Money: How To Manage, Multiply and Maintain Your Money.

Get The 3 M’s of Money on Smashwords

Copyright © 2016 Cherryl Hanson Simpson. No reproduction without written consent.
Originally published in The Daily Observer, February 18, 2016.

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Cherryl is a money coach and business mentor, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. See more of her work at and Contact Cherryl

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