Saturday, 20 October 2012

What Price a Clean Conscience?


Wouldn't we all like to retire at a young age with enough money for us to do anything we wanted to do, without considering where the next penny was coming  from? 

Well one man just has. He is 41 years old, retiring from banking and has an estimated £450 million in his pocket. Yes, £450 million. He wants to spend time with his family. Don't we all? But some of us have to continue working our guts out to make ends meet and pay the bills. 

So everyone envies him right? I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this one.


I feel like laughing because he made his money and probably worked damn hard in the process, so good on him. But would you really want to be in his shoes? 

Let's say as a banker he contributed towards this financial crisis that has led to people being thrown on the scrap-heap, families having their houses repossessed, businesses failing, police and protesters getting hurt whilst clashing in riots, and the potential collapse of entire economies. The list could go on. Experts all agree that it was the banking industry that caused this.

So, if the success of this one man has come at the cost of so much pain for so many others, should he really be envied?


What price would you set on having a clean conscience?
Should he be allowed to retire with all this money?
How far would you go for money?
Be honest with me now, is their anyone out there whose morals might become a little bit more flexible, the larger the cash incentive involved? 

All comments, opinions and views most welcome.


51 comments:

  1. Retiring at 41 after a career in banking? Sounds a little shady to me. But then, bankers aren't exactly known for their integrity.

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    1. Yeah, this is what happens when an industry has got a bad name. It pools all the good ones together and you don't know who is good from who is bad. That's one hell of a lot of money though. Thanks Helena.

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  2. I would need to know more about the man. I grew up very poor. We lived with lawn furniture in the house when I was a toddler, as I got older, my mother worked two jobs to support us so I stayed with my grandmother a lot. We literally lived off the land. Spent all summer canning fruits and vegetables for the winter and stocking the freezer full of meat we shot ourselves. If I earned that money through investing and nothing illegal, your darn right I'd retire and have fun with my family!! But I wouldn't do anything illegal or immoral to be rich. I try to set a good example for my kids because I want them to grow up with a good set of values.

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    1. Well said. You may have grown up in a poor family but I'm sure in these tough times of austerity you know how to value the £ or $ and how to budget wisely if needed. I think that's a bonus from an experience like that, if you know what I mean. It is so important that we teach our children good moral values in life, so thank you Barbara for you comments.

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  3. The way investment banking works, for every winner there must be a loser. That £450 million came out of other people's pockets.

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    1. That's the flip side of all of this Dennis. That guy got so much money, yet still, there are the others who have suffered and are still suffering right now. Thanks for your comment.

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  4. Nothing like a great question like that. In all honesty, I'd do whatever it took without compromising my morals, which is probably why I don't have a job, nor can I find a job. That being said, my morals are a bit dodgy in some areas....

    The biggest problem right now, it just that employers don't care about employees. Employees are easy to come by, and easy to get rid of. They don't care about skill sets, because there are a million other candidates that, if they don't have those skill sets, can learn them decently fast and not worry about it.

    As far as your question about flexible morals, I would never deviate from my moral set, but as I said, some of my morals can be a bit dodgy.

    Personally, all I want is $2.5 million. At 1% interest, that's over $25k a year, which is about the average salary I've ever made in my life, and I could get interest rates far better than 1%. That is honestly, my dream number, but oh well.

    In the end, the man made all that money, good for him. Doesn't matter how he did it, as long as it wasn't illegal. Maybe there aren't enough laws governing how much people can fleece off someone else...okay, there really aren't enough laws like that, but still, if I were him, I'd have retired long before 450 million.

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    1. Thank you for your honesty about your morals here. Nobody is perfect and we all have areas in our life where we may fail instead of doing the right thing.

      Although the word 'illegal' has popped up here a few times, I'm just wondering if people would really take something that was legally their right knowing that others were suffering badly because of it - even if it was not morally wrong!

      Sorry to hear that you can't find a job, but I also appreciate your observation of what is also happening. Employers have a big choice and nowadays your experience, skills, qualifications does not always guarantee you a job anymore.
      I really do wish you well in this area but I personally know how hard it can be too. Thanks for sharing your views Dan.

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  5. I love money. Saying that, I love being at peace with my conscience. Not everything immoral is illegal. And not everything illegal is immoral. I do not think I would want rewards for actions I consider immoral, and certainly profiting from others economic loss is immoral. Guess I'll never be the corporate type.

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    1. So true what you say about 'not everything immoral is illegal.' Right now the banking/investment industry seems to be rife with shady players working the systems. Makes me angry and sad.

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    2. Thanks Jamie and Janene.
      I too don't feel I could tolerate working in any industry that was illegal and which went against my own personal morals. I wouldn't feel comfortable knowing it was wrong and others were suffering because of it. BUT......if I had young children to feed, mortgage to pay, bills coming out of my ears, debts in every direction, I'm not sure what I would do to be fair. Decisions always seem so much easier when you're not in it.

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  6. I don't know what that man did to get that much money. If he really got it at the expense of other people, I don't envy him. If he worked hard and honestly for it, he should certainly be allowed to retire.
    I don't really go far for money and I would honestly never overthrow my morals for it. Right now, I really don't have much money and my parents still get those child benefits to pay for my education and living, they are actually legally obligated to pay, but they don't, which is really a problem because I don't get a student loan because they think my parents earn too much money. Some of my friends told me to go to court to claim it. But I would never go as far as to take my own family to court because of money.
    I would be happy if I just had enough to be able to pay the tuition fee without worrying about how to pay for food afterwards. I really hate that education and things like that depend so much on money.
    Now my comment has deviated from the actual topic, I'm sorry.

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    1. Thanks Kleopatra. I don't think you deviated because in a way what your parents are doing is wrong in my eyes because they are taking the money which is rightly for you (especially if the law in your country states that your parents are suppose to give you that money) and due to withholding that money it has had a detrimental effect on your getting a student loan to study properly. So you are the one suffering. I understand if you were given the money and it was being mis-used for whatever reason, but that's not the case from what you've said.

      You raised a very interesting point about taking your parents to court. I know you said you are not doing that, but I'm wondering if there are any people who would take legal action against their own family or friends! You see, could it be that family or friends tend to do things that they can get away with, simply because they know that no action will be taken against them? Just a thought.

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    2. That is an interesting thought and I do think that family and friends might sometimes tend to do such things because they know that there will not be taken action against them and they will get away with it. On the other hand, those things can destroy families or friendships, so I do not understand why people do it.
      The few friends I told about this said that, if they were in my place, they would take them to court. But I don't think it's that easy. It's easy to say they would, but it's different when you're in this situation.

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  7. I would not want to make money by cheating others out of their money.
    After feeling financially safe I don't believe an excess of money would make me any happier.
    If a person is greedy there will never be enough to satisfy him.
    If I was rich, helping others would be very meaningful and enjoyable.

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    1. That's it John. What is the point where someone says they have more than enough money to live a luxurious life for as long as they are on this earth? Could it be greed like you said? Or is enough never really enough due to the amount they spend on a daily basis?

      Remember when you become rich to come and help me, I'll make sure you enjoy it :). Thank you so much for your comment John M.

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  8. There's no amount of money that would make me bend my morals. I'd rather work for what I get. Also if this dude made his money honestly, he should retire whenever he wants to.

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    1. Thanks Angela. Well said. No probs when it's all upfront and in order.

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  9. This time your questions are real funny (funny as strange, not funny as ha ha) because they are self answered, unless we go against the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    I can answer you telling a story:

    In the beginning I was between those "lucky guys" destined to flow over the several millions of the currency you like most, before I reach the 40's.

    I started pedalling my bicycle (so to speak) for some short time to get the way to handle the ropes, then I had to change to a BMW (so to speak) because the path was getting narrower and steeper.

    On the last times, I was "invited" to visit the "entry lodge" of the brotherhood, which was seen as an advancement in your career.

    I climbed the rough path until the lodge parking lot, parked my BMW (so to speak) in the last rows behind Cadillacs, Porsches, Daimlers, and Lamborghinis, and walk the mile and a half to the building.

    At the door I was expected by a doorman with three heads. He greeted me and took me to a room where there was hanging on a hook a ninja uniform, complete with swords and all its weapons.

    "Please", he said, "leave your suit here and don the uniform"

    I looked this strange sight and asked: "Are we going to learn Martial Arts?"

    One of the head laughed and answered: "Yes, and you better learn quickly, recover from your wounds quicker, and inflict unrecoverable hurt into your foes!"

    All the heads laughed at once in a derisive way and it was in that precise moment my naive person was enlighten by the knowledge of what will be required from me in the future, even if those images were superposed by Yachts, life in the Côte d'Azur, brunettes, and blondes, and a myriad of most desirable things.

    In a moment I took a decision and before three amazed pair of eyes, turned on my heels and went to look for my BMW (so to speak) but it was not there any more. I found a small tricycle replacing the car which I could not mount but could use it as a snowboard because the path was going downward.

    Since then I almost forgot the dream of millions before the 40's, it remains as a funny (now as ha ha) joke.

    And since then, even the coldest, sometimes empty, bed in a hotel has been a blessed place to sleep.

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    1. Ah, Untony, as usual you are always able to tell a story in the most enticing way. Sometimes the coldest and darkest places on earth are the times when one is most honest with integrity. After all, what have you got to lose in this position? Loved the way you put it though.
      No matter where you think you're going to in life, I guess, if you see Cerberus as the doorkeeper, a wise man goes back along the way he came!

      At least, as we say in the East End of London, ' at least it's all bought and well paid for'. Thanks for your comments.

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  10. As some others have shared here, I would have to know more about exactly to what extent he made this money to give my point of few.

    But if he made it legally and with integrity, I say, "Congrats...and I'm sincerely happy for him!"

    Your question about becoming more flexible as far as morals are concerned, the larger the cash incentive.

    No, and trust me, I've had the opportunity to bend my morals for more money and refused. I'm in a very competitive business, which causes many people to get aggressive and do things to make more money.

    But my father (who was also salesman) taught me one thing that has stuck with me forever.

    Be honest, sincere, and always sell with the utmost integrity.

    Success and money will follow.

    And he was right.

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    1. I'm glad that you are able to share your experiences of being in a postition to go against your morals but you chose not to. Just goes to show that not everyone will sell their souls to become rich. Thanks to your father I guess :) Parents have a lot to do with how some of their children turn out. Thank you so much for commenting Ron.

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  11. The world sadly has psychopaths at the top of a lot of jobs due to their social charm (when required) and ruthlessness to do jobs that other's morals get in the way of. Sometimes I wish I could be a little more psychopathic unfortunately that is because I cannot ask someone for a favour without feeling incredibly guilty generally for days or longer even if the person has no problem with it. In case it sounded like it not all people in the top jobs are psychopaths but it's where you're most likely to find one apparently

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    1. Ah, your comment did make me laugh The Weird Guy. Psychopaths at the top, sounds like a good blog post title. Thanks for sharing your views. Yes, psychopaths at the top, ha ha.

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  12. Hi Rum-Punch-Drunk! I’m never envious of those with money because I feel that’s their due and good for them. But if someone built his nest egg by swindling others in the rotten mess that is the worldwide financial crisis, then that is just cheating! So I am not envious of that person, I am angry. Should this banker retire with all his money if he did that? My first instinct is to say No, but in our capitalist democracy, he is entitled to do just that if he hasn’t broken any laws (and many of those laws are murky). I’d like to see our Justice Dept here in the U.S. do a lot more to put some of those crooks in jail, but (sigh!) I’m just a dreamer...lol!

    How far would I go for money? I’d be less than honest if I said that dangling the promise of money and an easier life before me would not be appealing. But I would not compromise myself or put others in jeopardy for the sake of having that money. I cannot be that selfish. I don’t condone it, but I can see how some people might become more flexible with their morals when the promise of an easier life is dangled before them. However, that’s where conscience comes into play. I could never live with the knowledge that I had profited by causing pain to others. Apparently, that banker and the Wall St. swindlers don’t have that same moral compass.

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    1. I think I would give the same reply to you as I gave to Jamie and Janene above. I hope that I would not change my stance but you just never know. Dangling that carrot could depend on the last time you ate! Thanks Jerseylil, and really nice to hear from you again.

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  13. However Mr. X made his millions, he's welcome to them. It's a matter of indifference to me. That's the world we live in, and I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. My own life and happiness have had very little to do with working and making money. I'm lived the life I wanted to live and I don't judge or envy anyone.

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    1. NP, I see your point but what if this Mr X caused you indirectly not to be able to pay your mortgage, or forced your children out of their jobs? Would you lose sleep over it? Would you still be able to be happy and content without judging? Just a spin on things but it would be good to hear your thoughts.

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    2. No, I wouldn't lose sleep over it. I've been in that position before and I chose simply to move on with my life, and be happy. The Mr. X's of the world have no power over my spirit or emotions.

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  14. Interesting question... I know that I would rather make my money the honest old-fashioned way - sleeping well at night means for me making good choices while I am awake. I must admit there is a bigger part of me than I want to acknowledge that dreams of making millions to do what I want with... *sigh* I live simply but comfortably, and don't know what I would be like if I had to scrape and pinch for everything I needed for my kids, for example. I am wise enough to know that I don't know my own weaknesses until they spring themselves upon me! I hope those millions were earned legally - if not, the scales will eventually tip in favour of equality, either in this life, or the next!

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    1. You seem to have a broad perspective. Our circumstances do sometimes determine how much desperation is involved in the decisions we make. The choice between comfortable and rich as you point out, is far different from the choice between starvation and survival especially when loved ones are involved. But at all times we do well to consider not only this life but the next (depending on what you believe).

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  15. Rumpunch Drunk,thanks for visiting my blog and for your encouraging comments.Regards!

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  16. You're welcome Femi. Look forward to hearing some more from you in the future.

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  17. Sure, I'd like to be rich, but not if I had to be cruel and dishonest in order to do it. Greed isn't a big motivator for me, so it's hard to understand someone who needs 450 million, when he could be rich (and possible have more integrity) with, say, "only" 50 million instead. How many cars, houses, shoes, etc., does one person need?

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  18. I teach my kids to think before they act about whether this is something they'll be comfortable admitting they did. If not or if they're not sure, they shouldn't do it. This is a good lesson for adults too.

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    1. That's a good way to teach the kids as it makes them really think about it before acting. I like it. Thanks Bakinginatornado.

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  19. Even though it would be incredibly tempting to be (more then) financially secure for the rest of my life and my children's, grandchildren's etc. I just couldn't live with myself having caused that much pain and misery. I don't think money can lessen that. Also how much money does he and his family need!? Give some to charity, make a difference and try and give something back :)

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    1. Thanks Jade and I'm sure you will be more than financially secure one day, long before you leave us a nice Jade Kennedy Museum of Poetry!! (remember?)

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    2. LOL! Of course I remember :) and if I ever get rich and famous I will definitely give some money away to good causes. And remember to thank you Rum when I open my poetry museum lol.

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  20. Well I think balancing is the key for happy life. Sometimes people work too hard and neglecting their family. By the end of the day, they might have lots of money but none of the family around.

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    1. Ah, that's a twist. Would you rather have lots of money or family? Especially if you had to make a choice. Thanks for your input here DebbZ.

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  21. I suppose it's easy to say that I'd stand by my principals even though I don't earn a lot of money and know I know what it means to struggle and make ends meet.
    That was before reading some of the comments here about providing for loved ones. That gave me a pause.

    So I suppose that my reasoned answer now would be - I wouldn't compromise my morals to get rich, no matter how much I was offered, but if my loved ones were hungry I couldn't swear to the fact I wouldn't shift my stance.

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  22. Well, that's an honest comment. Thanks Navigator.

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  23. hmhm... every question of morality is tottering with one hold on the idea of personal need and one hold on the idea of living with guilt-- Its a hard premise. I think, each and every situation warrants separate analysis and any generalization in this regard is not well thought out. and that can be pointed out the reason as why there is a court and justice system in every country.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your views on this Muthu. Is it not fair to say rather that if morals were that flexible they would no longer be morals?

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  24. I agree with you, my friend, and I could not give up my morals for Earthly money. I've had relatives whose most important thing in life is money, and it seemed to have made them cold-hearted towards anyone else. Another great post!

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    1. Money has a way of changing people and it's mostly always for the worst. My lips are sealed. Thanks Donna.

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  25. Look money is extremely important we all agree with this. Those who don't have money, will say money ain't evrything.It ain't evrything to some extent, but we do agree money has become our God.Not mine yours only.
    If i had 450 million,i would become insane.for one year.
    The second year, lawyers would come to make my will.
    The third year i would fake my death and retire to Africa.
    The fourth year, i will create a foundation for battered children.
    The fifth year i will go to BORA BORA.
    The sixth year is up to you to debate if i did wrong or not.

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  26. Rum pa pa pum, Rum pa pa pum..Rum pa pa pum..yeah yeah yeah..oooh hooo oooohh.
    I was relieving myself some stress.
    Well, people who have plenty of dough...really don't know where to start, or what to do with it.If he has spent his whole life saving,making money.In the end with so much money...he did built his wealth, but he didn't build a plan, on how to spent it.
    HEY, MONEY NOT SPENT LOOSES VALUE.SO!...do something mate!! and do it now! something that will help a family, save a life, buy a heart for transplant, a kidney to save a dialysis patient.(renal failure)
    A home to a homeless,books for a student.Food for a beggar.anything that will stay shiny and light on your conscience.
    I really don't like people..but when it comes to help, i'll help you.then i'll go away. to help another one.

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    1. Thanks for both your comments Mr Potato. I loved the points you made in regards to heart transplants, saving lives, and giving a home to the homeless etc..... And it's always good to know that there are people like you willing to give your time to help others.

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