As most of you know, I headed up to Portland for a homeschooling conference over the weekend. I learned a great deal about homeschooling, though that’s not what I’m going to talk about today. The one point I kept hearing over and over and over again, the point that I am going to talk about today, is that character matters.

Now at the homeschooling conference, the point about character was directed at teaching children. But being a blogger who finds my inspiration in life, I started thinking about character in all aspects of life, including personal finance.


1. the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.

2. one such feature or trait; characteristic.

3. moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.

4. qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.

5. reputation: a stain on one’s character.


Character. It’s what defines us. Have you ever thought about your character? I remember a lesson that my 7th grade history teacher taught us. I forget how the subject came up, and I can’t even remember my teacher’s name. But I remember the lesson well. My teacher directed the class to Proverbs 22:1, which reads:

A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

My history teacher than explained that it is better to have a good name than lots of wealth. He gave a few examples. How would you like to have the last name of Hitler? Bundy (as in Ted)? How about Dahmer?

These men all had terrible character flaws, one being a total disregard for human life. I have no idea whether any of them were men of great monetary wealth, but I do remember the reasons they’ve gone down in history, and those reasons aren’t good.

Here’s where I tie it all together: When you’re dealing with your finances, how is your character? If you say you’re going to pay someone back, do you do it? Do you cheat on your income taxes? Do you make an effort to live within your means, or do you throw caution to the wind and figure you can always declare bankruptcy, if the credit card bills get too big to handle?

How are you going to go down in the history of your family? Will you be remembered as someone who kept her word? Or as someone who sacrificed time with the family to work 80 hours a week, so you could buy a brand new BMW?

In the end, people will remember our character. We needn’t be perfect. We can’t be. But I personally want to be known as a person who keeps my word, manages my finances to the best of my ability, and quickly confesses any wrongdoing.

How about you? Is character important? Is it something you work at?

Photo by DDFic.