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It pays to do the right thing. Honestly!

Several years ago, while attending an educational conference at a large hotel and conference center, I met with a colleague to discuss a committee issue. We found an onsite coffee shop, quickly resolved our concerns and were off to our next class. 

Later that evening it occurred to me that we were in such a hurry neither of us paid or left a tip. I returned to the coffee shop to pay but the manager refused to accept my money. He did, however, take my tip to give to the waitress. 

My friends laugh at me when I tell this story. But in life, it doesn’t matter if it’s a cup of coffee or someone’s fortune. Right is right and wrong is wrong and although unintentional, I did wrong.

In the business world, you can read articles almost every day about companies taking shortcuts or doing something illegal. In my mind, Enron is the poster child for what a business should not be.

The fact is, at some point in time I believe there’s been fraud or corruption at just about every level of government. You may recall the U.S. House check writing scandal of the 1990s or Senator Proxmire’s annual report listing several examples of the government’s misspending of taxpayer money.

In my lifetime we’ve had two presidents impeached and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see additional presidential impeachments in the years to come.

Since business and government have a history of fraud, it’s no wonder people love sports where the playing field is level. Sports are our escape from the day-to-day pressures of life. They’re supposed to be pure, honest competition, where the best team or athlete wins.

When I was growing up, I thought the only scandal that ever occurred in sports was the historic throwing of the World Series in 1919. But then, local hero Alex Karras was suspended a year for betting on NFL games. Thereafter, it seems like sports only became more flawed and troubled.

One of my favorites, Pete Rose aka Charlie Hustle, has been banned from entering the Baseball Hall of Fame for sports betting. Baseball stars that were breaking home run records were later found to be taking drugs. In the world of cycling, illegal drugs ruined the reputation and career of Lance Armstrong. And a few years back some NBA referees were banned for illegal activities.

Currently, we have perhaps one of the biggest scandals of all. The World Series has once again been tarnished because the champions cheated by stealing signs. I could go on and on, but the point is that sports, our escape from the everyday pressures of life, are far from perfect.

During the course of the regular season, the NFL has random drug testing for players, but other than an occasional violation, I’m not aware of any major scandal in the league. 

Lets hope that we don’t find out in the future that today’s Super

Bowl was flawed or corrupt. I hope whoever wins has players who prove to be be good, honest role models for our children.

Whether it’s business, government or sports there’s no place in society for shortcuts, drug enhancement or cheating. As a financial advisor I can’t stress enough that honesty is always the best policy.