Are You Normal About Money?

It's not every day that we're asked how much money it would take to get us to abandon all of our friends.

So? How much?

How about $10 million? According to author Bernice Kanner, 25% of Americans would say "so long" to all of their pals for that amount. (Personally, I'd wait for the check to clear before saying, "Sayonara!")

Questions like these and the answers people provide make Kanner's book, Are You Normal About Money?, well worth the occasional repeat viewing. It's kind of like watching reality TV or hyper-reality Jerry Springer. At its best, it will make you feel a little more, well, normal about money.

The things people would do...
We're a little wacky when it comes to the green stuff. For instance:

  • 48% of us would dress more revealingly to double our salary.
  • 22% of us would go up against a heavyweight boxer for $100,000. (Better make sure your plastic surgeon has a ringside seat.)
  • We tip less at restaurants on rainy days, and more on sunny ones, when the bill comes on a tray, and when we're eating alone. And the tip improves when the waitress draws a smiley face on the bill. When our male waiter does it, we're less generous.

Through statistics and surveys, Kanner seeks to find out what is "normal" when it comes to money. For instance, normal people physically handle money (72% of us store our bills in rigid order with smaller currency leading up to higher denominations) and emotionally react to financial matters (half of us lose sleep worrying about money). The questions and answers reveal a bit about our priorities, too. For instance, 29% of families have discussed illegal drug use. Just 27% talk about investing.

How normal are you about money? Let's see...

Are you likelier to sell stocks that have gone up or down?
Three out of four people are likelier to cash in the winners.

How often do you check stock quotes?
41% do it once a day; 33% do it three or more times a day; 10% never check.

How often do you count the money in your wallet?
One in 10 of us never do, while 15% tally their loot at least once a day.

Do you cheat on your taxes?
Yeah, right. Only a third of people admit they occasionally exaggerate expenses or deductions, and 21% cop to not reporting all income earned.

Do you know how much money your spouse earns?
One spouse in three out of 10 households is completely in the dark. Perhaps that's why 29% of couples admit to fighting more about their spouse's spending habits than taking out the trash, disciplining the kids, or even sex.

And finally the age-old conundrum: Rich or thin?
Another helping of deep-fried mashed potatoes, please. A whopping 82% of us would put up with a spare tire or two for super-sized savings.

You know, you don't have to choose an either-or scenario. Our Personal Finance area will help you save more, retire rich, get out of debt, get professional money help, and more. And, no, we won't ask you to dump all of your friends.

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