When I was a kid, there wasn’t a single act of dishonesty that wouldn’t provoke my mother’s wrath. Telling a lie was a surefire way to getting beat/spanked/whipped. (Don’t worry. I wasn’t abused.) It’s the memory of my mother’s violent reaction in response to even minor deception that makes it so difficult for me to lie today.
Things got so bad, I’d confess to my misdeeds before my mother found me out. My willingness to admit to wrongdoing urked my sister because I was rarely involved in mischief alone. Sometimes I really wish I was a better liar. Seems like it has its advantages.
But according to Thomas J. Stanley’s The Millionaire Mind, integrity was “tied for first in regard to the percentage of millionaires who rated it as a very important reason for their economic success.” I can see why it’s so important. I wouldn’t want to do business with someone or encourage anyone else to do so if I think a person is untrustworthy. I’d disassociate from them completely once I began questioning their values.
Far less logical arguments for integrity, but ones I strongly believe, are you reap what you sow and what goes around comes around.
I’ve been meaning to write about integrity and the role it plays in building financial wealth for a while. While attending the U.S. Open, I witnessed some unscrupulous behavior that really got under my skin. It’s this behavior that finally compelled me to speak on the subject of integrity.
It may be socially acceptable to freely upgrade your cheap seats when you notice better options open, but to me, it’s stealing. You’re taking something you didn’t pay for. Even though it saves you money, it’s not right. Fortunately, most of the people I suspected of snagging superior seats were revealed when the rightful seat owners showed up and shooed them away. The ushers were also pretty good about checking tickets of the potential thieves and embarrassingly pointing them to their seats.
On another occassion, I waited in a pretty long line to get a $50 gift card when I noticed two seemingly clueless older gentlemen cut in behind me. One of the men motioned to the people behind us and remarked to his friend that it’s possible they’d cut in line. The other responded, “Oh no. They just got here.”
No they hadn’t!!!
Those people were already there! Waiting patiently.
Not once, but twice…I let that idiot know 75% of the people he was in front of were there before him. He simply shrugged his shoulders. Can you believe this guy? If time is money, then I guess this jerk’s time was more valuable than the people behind him. If that wasn’t enough, when we finally got to the counter he said “This line moved a lot faster than I thought it would.” Are you serious?!!!
Other money saving and dishonest, but socially acceptable ways to save money are as follows:
- Filing fraudulent tax returns
- Purchasing bootleg DVDs
- Illegally downloading music
- Using a neighbor’s wi-fi connection
- Refusing to pay for metered parking on private property because you know the county police can’t give you a ticket
- Taking a sick day from work when you’re not sick
- Keeping silent when the cashier, teller, etc. gives you too much money back
I don’t want to come off as too judgmental. I’ve done some of the above. Although, I’m not telling you which ones. There are some activities I still engage in that some would consider suspicious.
- When I go on vacation, I put the miniature hotel lotion in my purse every night so housekeeping will give me another bottle everyday.
- Sometimes I go for a second round of free samples at the grocery store when I know full well I’ll never purchase the product.
Without going into my rationale, I don’t feel bad about this behavior. Does that count for anything?
How do you feel about this matter?
In your opinion, what role, if any, does integrity play in your ability to build financial wealth?
Are there any wealth destroying activities missing from my list?