What I’d Do for Money

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What would you do for a million bucks?


• Eat a pound of cilantro.

• Walk around Times Square in briefs and cowboy boots singing God Bless America.

• Curse at my boss in Japanese.

Our sister magazine Money conducted a survey on ethics and money that will appear in its June issue. Some findings:

• When asked what they’d be willing to do to advance in their career, 6% of survey respondents said they’d be willing to sleep with their boss or someone else who can help them get ahead. Of this 6%, respondents tended to be young, single and 10 times more likely to be men than women.

• 68% of respondents reported having a problem with family and friends over borrowing or lending money. While 1 in 6 respondents said they had never repaid in full the largest amount of money they’d ever borrowed from a friend or relative.

• 82% of respondents said never let your relatives know how much money you have. 57% of respondents admitted to having problems with family or friends over having a lot less money then they do. 55% of respondents admitted to having problems with family or friends over having a lot more money then they do.

• 88% of respondents said you should never let your co-workers know how much you make.

• 1 in 5 said they would keep the money if their bank put $2,000 into their account by mistake.

• 1 in 6 also said they’ve returned an item to a store for a refund once they were done using it.

• Nearly 3 in 10 felt it would not or probably would not be wrong to force their elderly mother to move to an assisted-living facility, even if years earlier they had accepted a large financial gift from her and promised to help keep her there for the rest of her life.


The most striking differences were between men and women. Both men and women believe women are more ethical than men (although women are likelier than men to think that’s true) and it appears they may be right. Women are more likely than men to express concern about ethical issues (to say, for instance, they don’t invest in companies that make products they disapprove of) and to play by the rules (fewer women sneak into second movies at the multiplex or steal office supplies). They’re also more likely than men to favor splitting their estates equally among the kids and to disapprove of attaching conditions to gifts of money.

What I’d like to know: does having more money make you more ethical, or vice versa? Do people harbor one set of ethics when it comes to their own money and another for their company’s? Do the spate of films like the Ocean 11-13s that glorify theft and con jobs inure our culture to ethical abominations?

Anyway. What would you do for $1 million? Just wondering.