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Only in It for the Money

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It looks like Wario didn't want cake.

"This mission doesn't sound like good business... but your Illusive Man can move a lot of credits."
Zaeed Massani, Mass Effect 2

Some heroes do what they do for honor, some for glory, some For Great Justice. Others are only looking for the cash. This attitude is held by people who are honestly greedy, just need a living, or don't want to act like they care. Characters fitting this attitude are often Hired Guns and the Bounty Hunter. In fact, the Evil Overlord List states that if one must resort to bounty hunters, they should only hire ones that work for money; a bounty hunter that lives for the thrill of the chase is too likely to do something to give the prey a chance to escape, in order to prolong the hunt. Of course even this can backfire if The Hero is Genre Savvy and has access to the funds to pay said Hired Guns more to turn on the villain. Every Man Has His Price after all.

Super-Trope of Punch-Clock Hero and Only Cares About Inheritance. This is a Sub-Trope of Not in This for Your Revolution. Money, Dear Boy is when it happens in Real Life. Villains who say this are likely to be Punch Clock Villains who work for the bad guys because Evil Pays Better, and might show that Even Evil Has Standards. On the other hand it might show they're a Greedy creep who doesn't care about anyone (example: the Greedy Televangelist). Contrast the Psycho for Hire, who while equally villainous, has other motivations. Compare to Career Not Taken and Signed Up for the Dental.

This may also provide an Evil Versus Oblivion motive if the Big Bad proposes either to destroy everything, or even simply to destroy the economy. A character following this trope but on the heroes' side may, if asked for further help, claim that said help is Not in My Contract.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Witz Su from After War Gundam X, at least at the start. He always takes jobs with his Bash Brother Roabea. Witz cares only about how much Jamil pays him (in order to support his family). Roabea likes getting paid too, but he'll walk away from jobs if he doesn't like the motive—he has two Ten Minute Retirements early and in the middle of the show.
  • Shinnosuke from Apocalypse Alice will often insist that this is his sole motivation. He's lying.
  • Levi calls out the merchant guilds for being greedy pigs in Attack on Titan. Ostensibly, they want Wall Rose permanently sealed off for humanity's safety but really they don't want Wall Maria to be retaken so as to profit from the lack of farmland and high number of starving refugees.
  • Chainsaw Man:
  • Ginka from Day Break Illusion claims this. Apparently being a Magical Girl pays well in this universe.
  • Delicious in Dungeon:
    • Chilchuck says that his only reason for following Laios and Marcille back into the dungeon is because he agreed to complete the job and was paid in advance; since they didn't slay the Red Dragon, his job isn't complete, and he's bound to Laios via his own terms. In fact, he says not to trust those who join parties for personal vendettas instead of money, since those sorts of people tend to be unreliable. That said, it's apparent he actually cares about the rest of the party.
    • Namari, the party's dwarf at the beginning of the story, leaves after the first chapter and joins a much better paying party, because she's not willing to help rescue Falin for free. Her character profile goes into more detail; her father embezzled a large amount of money and took off, leading to area's governor hating all dwarves and dwarves of the region shunning Namari for what her father did (the only reason she joined Laios' party to begin with is because no dwarves were in it). Namari holds on to the hope that if she acquires the amount of money her father embezzled and pays off his debt, her reputation will be restored.
  • Android 18 of Dragon Ball Z, following her Heel–Face Turn, will only get into fights if she's offered money, especially for entering tournaments. She convinced Mister Satan to pay her double the prize money, in exchange for her throwing the match, so he can save face and not be humiliated. Later, Goku had to bribe her with this to get her to participate in Dragon Ball Super's Tournament of Power.
  • In the Nirvana arc of Fairy Tail, Hot-Eye of Oracion Seis initially only ever talks about making money, and about how it's the greatest thing in the world. Once the effect of Nirvana changes his alignment, however, he reveals that he only wanted money so he could fund a search for his lost brother: Wally, who the protagonists from the eponymous guild had already encountered in the Tower of Heaven arc.
  • Bleed Kaga from Future GPX Cyber Formula at first wants to get into races for the money to pay for his car, but in the last episode of the TV series, he refuses Kyoko's offer for the money and instead gets himself out of the race so Hayato, Shinjyo and Randoll would take the top three spots.
  • Gamble Fish has Kaoru Gokijima, a disgusting but cunning hustler who is only willing to help out Tomu Shirasagi as long as he believes there's money in it for him. It's important to note he is more aligned with the It's All About Me camp more than anything else and goes as far to actively sabotage his own side for chance at more money.
  • Ghost Talker's Daydream: Misaki works as a dominatrix at the Roppongi S&M Club, but also works with the Livelihood Preservation Groupnote  as a medium, on occasion. She doesn't really care for either profession, however, especially the latter. Yet, she can't deny that it pays well which is the only reason she does it. Though her attitude towards necromancy changes in chapter 12.
  • In Heavy Object, Qwenthur is pursuing a career in Object design solely because it is the best way for a commoner to become extremely wealthy in the Legitimacy Kingdom.
  • A good version would be the Wild Geese mercenaries from Hellsing. Walter even says that as long as they are paid they will not betray their contract.
  • In Honey Honey, Phoenix claims to be protecting Honey and her cat Lilly because he doesn't want the valuable ring that Lilly ate to fall into anyone else's hands and repeatedly says that he wants money and only money, but part of this is because the two are starting to fall in love and he can't stand to admit it. And later it turns out that Phoenix's father Erik has bonds with Honey's long dead parents... and by that point, Phoenix is fully in it for Honey herself.
  • Leorio from Hunter × Hunter is an interesting example, claiming at the start of the series that he's only interested in taking the Hunter Exam because being a Hunter could easily make him filthy rich. Not only does he turn out to be the nicest guy in the series, but the reason he wants to be filthy rich is so he can get his PhD and open a free hospital after an old friend of his died from lack of treatment after he couldn't pay the medical fees.
  • This is the only reason why Kanamori of Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! does anything, even getting funding for her best friend's passion project.
  • Christopher Eclair of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple openly proclaimed that he'll be a hero of justice-if paid well enough. For context, he's actually a Psycho for Hire, but that time he had been hired by the Japanese government to fight Yami and had just been given a bar of gold to make sure Kenichi and Miu would get out alive from a very dangerous battle. To his praise, once he realized he was outclassed he made sure of dragging Kenichi and Miu away while he escaped-he had, after all, accepted the pay.
  • Parodied in Kirby: Right Back at Ya! with Tiff asking her favorite story book author (a clear parody of J. K. Rowling making a parody of Harry Potter) why she does stories, only to get the unfortunate response that she's doing it for the money and not because she enjoys the praise from fans. Of course, this was the Monster of the Week masquerading as the real deal in yet another Dedede plot to scam everyone and clobber Kirby. The real deal does love how everyone enjoys her books, much to Tif's relief.
  • Fleet Admiral of the Free Planets Alliance Yang Wenli expresses it this way:
    "I won't get paid if the Alliance ceases to exist, so I fight the Empire to secure my livelihood after retirement. That's pretty logical, right?"
  • Link acts like this early in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2016), wanting payments for every task he does for the Ordon villagers. The villagers take it in stride, as it's implied that Link is just practicing his attempt at humor.
  • Ochaco Uraraka/Uravity from My Hero Academia initially mainly wants to become a hero in order to earn money. However, it's downplayed, since she wants to use the money to support her parents, whose construction company folded. While Uraraka does feel bad that she's not becoming a hero for more selfless reasons, Iida and Midoriya are quick to assure her that wanting to support her family is a noble and selfless goal on its own, and she's nice enough to still help people just for the sake of helping them. As the story goes on, this side of her is gradually phased out as certain events such as Sir Nighteye's death make her reconsider why she wanted to become a heroine.
  • Naruto: Kakuzu is a villain who is only in it for the money. He doesn't really care about Akatsuki's plans and goals and is only interested in being paid. He's also known to go on side missions involving earning cash on the side, and tends not to want to involve himself in anything that isn't profitable. He feels that money is the only dependable thing in the world, though he does have a Freudian Excuse involving his village betraying him after losing to the First Hokage.
  • In One Piece:
    • Merman swordsman Hyozou makes it quite clear that he's only helping Hody Jones because he's being well-paid for his services. He actually would've gone with Arlong to East Blue if he had paid better. So Arlong may have done the heroes a favor at the time.
    • The villain of the first One Piece movie has a swordsman that he has to pay on the spot to get him to do anything.
    • Hogback reveals that he hated being a doctor and regarded his patients as a nuisance and only helped them for cash. Chopper is not amused.
  • In Overlord (2012), "Momon" asks the Worker groups why they are willing to risk death by exploring the Tomb of Nazarick. The Workers unanimously reply "money". It's implied this is one reason Ainz later feels no qualms about letting them all march to their deaths.
  • In Rebuild World, Akira's goal, like many hunters, is to find enough high-quality relics to escape the slums and finally live it up in the safety of the walled cities. Because of this, he's obsessed with earning money and is aghast when Alpha calls his hard-earned cash "spare change". Even when he starts doing good deeds to soothe his growing guilty conscience, he's also drawn by the promise of extensive pay for answering an emergency request.
  • Stepping on Roses (Hadashi de Bara wo Fume):
    • While Eisuke nobly brings abandoned children home to live with himself and his orphaned sister Sumi, his primary motivation is to have them work for him in his future business schemes when they grow older.
    • Similarly, the basis for Sumi and Souichirou's Arranged Marriage was money: Sumi needed it to save her family from destitution, while Souichirou needed a wife to actually gain access to his inherited wealth and to use said wife as a Honey Trap for his rival Nozomu. Both of them are very clear that there's no love in the deal, only striking deals for to make their lives better. At least at first.

    Comic Books 
  • Black Dynamite: Black Dynamite doesn't join the rebel alliance because he believes in the cause or cares about what's right, but because he wants to be paid—and to have the money secretly wired to the black community.
  • Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire: Buck once offered to take down an apparent pirate for free. Someone asked his friend Al if this was normal, and Al replied, "Buck? Are you kidding? I'm convinced that somewhere there has to be somebody paying him to breathe!"
  • An old friend of Han Solo's sets him up to be captured by Boba Fett in Dark Empire. Money was not only a reason, but the only reason he betrayed Han. It's pretty sad if you read The Han Solo Trilogy prequel novels, in which he also appears, and see what a great friend he used to be before his descent into villainy.
  • The DCU:
    • At the end of the Batman: Hush storyline, the Riddler explains how he roped the majority of Batman's Rogues Gallery into a grand, convoluted plan. For some, there were various motivations, like Joker thinking the Dead-Robin gag hilarious, but he dismisses almost half of them, including Catwoman, Clayface, Poison Ivy, and Killer Croc, as being in it solely for the money he paid them.
    • Being a mercenary, Deathstroke is often motivated by nothing more than his paycheck (though this can vary between stories). This was exploited in Forever Evil (2013) by Lex Luthor, the hero of the story, by pointing out to him that, by following the orders of the Crime Syndicate (an evil version of the Justice League from a parallel dimension), there won't be any more contract work for him. Deathstroke promptly defects to Luthor's side, but makes it clear that he expects payment for it. To Luthor's credit, this arrangement is honoured.
    • The Flash: The Rogues are strictly this. At times, they will try to save the Twin Cities from more maniacal villains. This can't be said for some of the Flash's other villains, such as Zoom and Grodd.
    • In JLA: Rock of Ages, Batman convinces Mirror Master to defect from the Injustice Gang by doubling Lex Luthor's paycheck. This probably inspired the Justice League example under Western Animation.
    • Martian Manhunter villain Commander Blanx, who exterminated his entire species so that he could sell their planet to an offworld mining corporation.
    • Plastic Man (along with his sidekick Woozy Winks) were originally in the superhero business for the money. Character Development hit over the years, however.
    • Suicide Squad: Deadshot only does what he does for the money, which he uses to support his daughter. If the payment is somehow negated, he'll stop the job and go home.
  • Lobster Random: In his earliest appearance, Lobster sells his skills as a torturer in exchange for cash, stating his complete lack of interest for the tortured or the revolutionary cause that he was hired for.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Avengers: Taskmaster will work for whoever is willing to pay him the most money.
    • Deadpool (particularly in his early appearances) is only in it for the money. It's not uncommon for him to switch sides in the middle of a fight if someone offers him more money.
    • Death's Head, Freelance Peacekeeping Agent, doesn't believe in killing if there's no profit involved. Any seeming good deeds done pro bono are done because "it pays to advertise", and one time he was involved in a mission to save his own future self from death he had to justify it as life insurance.
    • Barracuda from The Punisher MAX will do just about anything for money. He will also do just about anything to you if you don't pay him. "I kill a motherfucker, I expect to get paid. I kill a whole buncha of motherfuckers, I expect to get paid on time, not still be waiting for my money a week later.'' The person he was speaking to ending up getting fed to a Great White Shark.
    • Mr. Nobody once explains this concept to Spider-Girl:
      Spider-Girl: Why did you kill all those people? What did you hope to gain?
      Mr. Nobody: At a million dollars a head — plus five for Fisk — it's kind of a no-brainer.
    • Spider-Man: Due to their essentially street-level nature, a large majority of Spidey's Rogues Gallery share this trait to greater or lesser degrees, Depending on the Writer.
      • Sandman and Hydro-Man are the biggest examples, being essentially living elementals hiring themselves out because they can't think of any better way to make money with their powers.
      • The Shocker also tends to be one of Spidey's more mercenary villains, believing that getting paid and making it out alive is more important than holding grudges or any other grandiose supervillain shenanigans.
      • The Heel–Face Turn of the Hobgoblin is based on this trope. Hobgoblin's still a greedy jerk, but he's realized that he can make a major profit out of being a Luke Cage-style hero for hire. Thus he gets paid while avoiding the risk of jail time if things go bust.
      • In Ends of the Earth, this is Mysterio's main motivation for joining up with Doc Ock's current Sinister Six. However, once Ock's plan is revealed, Spider-Man convinces him to pull a Heel–Face Turn, if only for a little bit, due to the fact that the money would be useless should Ock succeed.
    • X-Men:
      • Mystique is not herself one of these (not usually, though she has been known to engage in the occasional bash-and-pry here and there), but most of her subordinates in the Brotherhood are. This is very much by design, as Mystique is a Mastermind-type of leader whose main strategy to motivate people is by throwing fistfuls of money at them.
      • Occasionally, the Juggernaut is a hired gun rather than pursuing a personal vendetta — and in these cases, a bigger pile of cash than what his current employer has offered can stop him.
      • S.W.O.R.D. (2020): Mentallo has always worked for whoever's willing to pay him, and he sees Krakoa as no more than another name on the cheques. Abigail Brand hires him for precisely this reason. It backfires on her in X-Men Red (2022), as all that's required to sway Mentallo is someone outbidding her, and Roberto DaCosta does precisely that.
  • In Mega Man (Archie Comics), Dr. Light mentions having designed several military robots early in his career strictly so he could gain the money and notoriety he needed to work on more benevolent projects.
  • Rick and Morty (Oni): The Ball Fondlers, while ostensibly heroes, only help out to a certain degree based on how much they are paid. They deliberately neglect to inform Rick that Morty has gone through Heel–Face Brainwashing because they believe that Rick didn't pay them enough to warrant them giving him that information.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Black Shadow, one of the Decepticon's Phase Six soldiers, a notorious and Nigh Invulnerable group of Super Soldiers, only committed his massive list of crimes for money. The Autobots eventually bribed him to turn against the 'cons and blow up a fleet, which caught the attention of the Decepticon Justice Division, and Black Shadow didn't last long after that.
  • In Violine, Violine's house doctor is revealed to practice his profession for the money. Violine's mother is apparently happy to oblige, calling him for even minor medical issues. He also tries to blackmail Violine's mother over the knowledge he has of her disappeared father. After his Heel–Face Turn, he rejects his greed, even asking the chief of his adoptive tribe to slap him when he gets greedy again.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Blanket: Bakuda tells Accord that her approach to morality is "To come up from behind it in an alley, hit it over the head and take it for every cent on it." Accord is mildly impressed. Until she blows him up as her first target.
  • Discussed in Chapter 52 of BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant. Makoto Nanaya tells her teammates that her initial motivation for becoming a Huntress was to make money to support her family, not caring for much else. However, years later, she looked back and realized that her reasons were far more self-centered, wanting to relish in standing above those who brought her down. By the present, this trope is dowplayed, as while she still wants to make money for her family, she also wants to help the people close to her out of kindness.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: All armies are comprised of hired guns. Whether it's the forces of good in their battle against the Keepers, or the Keepers themselves to attack other Keepers.
    • Some of the most important characters, like Cathy, Jered or Keeper Midori started working with Keeper Mercury because of the money they could get out of it.
    • For Keepers, the only alternative to paying minions is to cut off all their avenues of escape and intimidate them into behaving, since they generally have no sense of loyalty. Zarekos actually manages this for a long time, by collapsing all portals on the Avatar Islands; the vampires can't cross the ocean and thus have no way to leave. As soon as he's removed, though, his organisation immediately collapses into infighting and every-man-for-himself power grabs.
    • Goblins, in particular, will work for anyone who feeds and pays them, with no other discernible principles. If one of their kin is killed, they will shrug and loot the body. When a series of strategic retreats gives Mercury a poor reputation and interferes with hiring new talent, the goblins don't care and will still sign up.
  • A Gamer In South Blue: Rowan and Towa, a pair of bounty hunters and Devil Fruit users native to the Grand Line, who confront Jack at the end of Chapter 20 to tell him to stop his crusade because he's killing business for the rest of them. When Jack refuses on moral grounds, they resign themselves to killing him. With no concern whatsoever for the fact that they're in the middle of a city and surrounded by civilians. Jack kills Towa while Rowan gets blasted who-knows-where by Bartholomew Kuma.
  • Golden Child: Risotto Nero's only interest in taking over Passione's drug trade after killing the Boss is only for the profits. Or in a more pragmatic sense, his team la Squadra needs the money for basic necessaries, as unlike other teams they are only paid per job and have less of that after the boss killed two of his men. This actually makes it easier for la Squadra to team up with Team Buccarati to kill the Boss, with Buccarati promising to provide Risotto and his men better pay and a higher standing when Giorno becomes the new boss.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • Kyril, in the beginning. He has been working as a freelance sellsword since his arrival to Eostia, hunting down numerous orc war bands by himself not for heroics, but for a living. In fact, this trope is the sole reason why he gets involved in the quest of bringing Olga alive back to Ken. His insistence in the completion of his mission, hence getting paid, is made more prominent in the remastered version. Later on, he would gradually grow out of this mentality when he gets more involved in the war against the Black Dogs. In particular, the moment where he decides to defy Bystander Syndrome marks his Character Development.
    • In Chapter 25, Kyril claims himself as this while interrogating a clergyman who follows Grishom. The clergyman takes the bait and frantically reveals that he knows where Grishom is, culminating in the climax of the Rebel Scum Arc.
  • Pokémon: The Lost Child: Aegislash isn't working as an assassin for The Brotherhood for any reason other than the money it gives him.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, the Laramie Clan organizes the Big P Pokémon Race and names the winners honorary members so they can help spread their message about living in harmony with Pokémon. Dario couldn't care less about spreading any message; he's only interested in the money and prestige he can get by using the Laramies' name.
  • In Tales of a Junk Town Pony Peddler Prodigious Peddler only agrees to take Sun Beam along when she promises to pay him. It fits the gruff, Spaghetti Western vibe he has around him, but of course Road Trip Plot ensues.
  • Many of the more cynical Naruto fanfics, such as A Teacher's Glory make it clear that ninja do rescue princesses and save countries, but only because they're paid to do so. A mission like Wave where it's for a good cause but they're severely underpaid will be called off unless their contractors can make up the difference (plus an additional fee for lying). Despite the stories of heroism kids are told in the academy, ninja are mercenaries by definition.
  • In The Spectre Trilogy, Carla’s motivations for becoming a trainer are purely monetary. Subverted in that the money is for her sister, who needs it somewhat urgently.
  • In Tales of the Hunger Games, Maxima's motivations for mentoring the District Fourteen tributes following the 95th Hunger Games are purely monetary, as the Capitol promised her a large yet undisclosed financial reward if one of her tributes won a Hunger Games. She also admits to her 97th Hunger Games tributes that the financial reward makes her want to help them win even more than the other mentors who wanted their tributes to win. She gets her wish following Ross's victory, where the Capitol follows up on their promise and transfers that money into her bank account.
  • Cheating Death: Those That Lived has two Victors whose motivations for entering the Hunger Games are purely monetary:
  • Ashes of the Past: Like in the previous timeline, Gary Oak tries to retire from serious competition to become a researcher after coming in second place of the Indigo League (which he only competed in because he was in the middle of doing the Gym Challenge when his memories of the last timeline got restored). However, while researching Mega Evolution in the Kalos Region, he's forced to do the Kalos Gym Challenge in order to support himself after a run of bad luck leaves his bank account running dry. The only reason he even enters the conference is due to timing and Blastoise's encouragement. Of course, he's nonetheless delighted when he wins the entire thing.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire all of the explorers except for Milo are motivated by money. They actually look at Milo with confusion and contempt for being motivated by anything else. They change their tune when they find out the damage they'll inflict is a little too much even by their standards.
  • Spike claims this to intimidate a thug in the opening of Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door, when said thug tries to get him to back down by threatening an old lady. It's not actually completely true of the Bebop's crew, but money is their primary motivation.
    "Well, that's a real shame, but we're not cops and we're not from some charity organization. Sorry, lady, but we don't protect or serve — this is strictly business."
  • The Incredibles: Played with when Bob chooses to take the mysterious job offer to stop the Omnidroid. The fact that it would provide him a chance to do (apparently) good hero work again without getting into legal trouble was already a big factor, but the fact that the offer came just after he was fired from his insurance company job with no easy way forward and they were promising triple his government salary was definitely a factor in him taking it and lying about a "company conference" to his wife.
  • Ratatouille: Skinner is much more interested in whoring out Gusteau's image for a line of frozen foods than restoring the restaurant's reputation, and doesn't especially care about how this move has damaged Gusteau's standing in the culinary world. Though it is justified from a financial perspective, as the restaurant's rating (and by extension its popularity) that attracts customers is lower than it used to be in Gusteau's heyday, and the frozen food sales are at least keeping the staff paid and the lights on.
  • While Marcel in Rio is an Evil Poacher, he is only interested in money and doesn't get a kick out of making animals suffer. That personality trait is instead given to Marcel's pet cockatoo and Dragon-in-Chief Nigel.
  • In Turning Red, Mei and her friends only agree to go to Tyler's birthday party for the money he promises to pay for Mei's panda form to be the entertainment.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Branch Rickey gives this in 42 as the reason why he wants to add an African-American baseball player to the Brookyln Dodgers. He's lying.
    • Pee Wee Reese also cites this as the reason why he won't sign the team's anti-Robinson boycott petition.
  • In Date with an Angel, Patty Winston's father Ed is willing to dump her as the face of his company because he believes that her fiance's mistress (the titular Angel) is prettier. Business is business.
  • District 13: The only reason that Taha's mooks put up with his tyranny is because of the paycheck. Sure enough, as soon as he loses all his money thanks to the heroes, they immediately turn on him.
  • In Film: 5 Fingers (1952), the butler turned spy Diello (Agent Cicero) makes it clear he cares not a whit who wins the war, and in a gesture of contempt for his German employers, demands to be paid in British pounds sterling for spying against the British. When his controller points out that when the Nazis win the war, as Diello is helping them do, British pounds will be valueless, he coolly replies that he is confident the Nazis will lose whatever he does for them.
  • Ghostbusters: Peter's primary motivation for starting the company ("The franchise rights alone will make us rich beyond our wildest dreams!") and Winston's motivation for signing on ("If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say."). Naturally, this changes for both characters — Harold Ramis has said that the main character arc is Peter's turn "from shady cynic to true believer."
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Blondie, Tuco, and especially Angel Eyes. Unlike many villains with this trait it doesn't make him more sympathetic; in fact, it does just the opposite.
  • Happy Gilmore takes up golf initially for this purpose, with the intent of saving his grandma's house from the IRS.
  • Hard Rain: Jim, says this almost word-for-word several times in the film. Even in the end, when Tom thinks Jim helped save his life:
    Jim: You just don't get it, do you? (He grabs the money bags and puts them in his boat.)
  • Hustle (2022): Vince Merrick, who succeeds his father Rex as manager of the 76ers, only cares about the business side of basketball and how profitable his players are. This contrasts with the protagonists Stanley and Bo, who do what they do for their love of the sport.
  • Indiana Jones takes a dim view of anyone who views historic treasures by their monetary value, and the worst is likely Mac from The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, who has a viewpoint similar to Lone Star's on the Quote page:
    Mac: “Comrade?” You think this is about flags? This is about uniforms? It’s about lines on a map?
    Indy: It's just about money, isn't it?
    Mac: No, not “only money". A gigantic pile of money! Don’t worry about what the Russians will pay us, it’s nothing compared to what’s at Akator. An entire city of gold, it’s what the Conquistadors were after, for Dog’s sake Jonesey! We could be richer, richer than Howard Hughes!
  • In Iron Man 2 Nick Fury claims that Vanko's father wanted to get rich off of the arc reactor technology, rather than use it to benefit the world. This is the reason why Howard Stark had him deported back to Russia.
  • In It's a Wonderful World, Guy isn't above getting $100/week even if it means taking care of an embarrassing client.
  • John Wick: Chapter 4 features an independent bounty hunter who simply goes by "Nobody", whose motivation for hunting down John Wick is the money. No personal need for revenge, no need to impose the authority of the High Table, and it's not even him making a point of proving superiority as an assassin — he simply sees killing John for a multi-million dollar bounty as good business. This motivation actually leads him to do some unorthodox things, including willingly letting John go despite having him dead to rights in order to negotiate an even bigger payout, as well as taking down other assassins on John's tail to ensure that he'll be the one to claim his head.
  • From Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior: "I'm just here for the gasoline."
  • In The Mechanic (1972), Charles Bronson's character says this is it. His Bastard Understudy however does it for the thrill of existing outside morals and laws, and kills Bronson's character for not living up to that image.
  • From The Muppet Movie:
    Doc Hopper: I'll double your salary.
    Max: ...I'll open the door.
  • In the Film Noir Murder, My Sweet, Philip Marlowe perfectly describes this. He outright states that he only did it for the cash.
    Lt. Randall: You're not a detective, you're a slot machine. You'd slit your own throat for six bits plus tax.
  • An example from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End:
    Jack Sparrow: Who are you?
    Tai Huang: Tai Huang. These are my men.
    Jack Sparrow: Where does your allegiance lie?
    Tai Huang: With the highest bidder.
    Jack Sparrow: I have a ship.
    Tai Huang: That makes you the highest bidder.
  • In The Rock, it turns out that some of Hummel's men only joined because of money, and as soon as Hummel realizes this, it's already too late.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, right before the big fight, Kim says "We are Sex Bob-omb and we're here to sell out and make money and stuff." She changes her tune in the replay.
  • Smokey and the Bandit: When Bo explains why he and Cledus Snow are driving to Texas to bring back a truckload of Coors beer: "For the money, for the glory, and for the fun. Mainly for the money."
  • The Star Wars parody Spaceballs. Lone Starr and Barf originally wanted to claim the reward for rescuing Princess Vespa to pay off a debt to Pizza the Hutt. It later turns out that Pizza the Hutt ate himself to death after being trapped in his limo, which meant that Lone Starr and Barf could keep the entire reward for themselves. However, when the mission is accomplished, Lone Star realizes that he loves Vespa more than the idea of obtaining the reward, only accepting enough from her father for lunch, gas and tolls. He asks him not to tell her but he does anyway when she gets angry because he left.
  • In the Star Trek universe, Federation scientists and engineers such as Geordi LaForge revere Zefram Cochrane for inventing the warp drive, which allowed the Federation to form. The Cochrane that Geordi meets in Star Trek: First Contact breaks the pedestal somewhat: he invented the warp drive to get rich and had no idea what would happen because of it.
  • Star Wars:
    • A New Hope: Han Solo makes it clear to Luke: "Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, princess. I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money." Or so he says. It's also justified, as he really needed the money to survive against Jabba the Hutt (he needs a lot of money to redeem himself for not delivering spice to Jabba).
    • The Empire Strikes Back: This is the reason bounty hunter Boba Fett (among others) agrees to help Darth Vader capture Han and company, as Jabba made good on his threat to "put a price on Solo's head so high, he wouldn't be able to get near a civilized system." This is averted with Boba's "father" Jango Fett when he makes a deal to become the template for the Clone Troopers. Though Jango's fee was still sizeable, another of his conditions was to have a single unaltered clone to raise as his son.
    • The Anthology film Solo, Han Solo's origin story, Han signs on to Tobias Beckett's team only because he wanted money to return to his homeworld of Corellia. But working with Beckett helps turn him into the legendary smuggler we know and love.
    • In The Last Jedi, like Han before him, DJ makes it clear that he's not interested in the Resistance's plight and is only helping them out for the chance to earn some credits. And unlike Han, he actually means it; when the operation goes belly up, DJ just cuts a deal with the First Order, telling them the Resistance's plans in exchange for a boatload of credits and a shiny new spaceship to fly away in, leaving Rose and Finn behind to be executed.
  • Dee Jay of the Street Fighter movie only worked for M. Bison because he promised him a fortune, and was fully aware that he was a power-mad dictator wannabe unlike the clueless Zangief. This became a case of Laser-Guided Karma as his "fortune" turns out to be stacks of worthless Bison dollars.
  • Tom Cody in Streets of Fire: A Rock and Roll Fable originally agreed to save his former girlfriend, singer Ellen Aim of the Attackers from Raven and his gang, The Bombers, for $10,000. After accomplishing the mission, Ellen finds out, leaving one half of her pissed off at him, and the other half feeling her love reignite.
  • In To Have And Have Not, the hero states that the decision to help the Free French movement is solely based on the monetary return offered.
  • In Tropic Thunder, Pecker is offered cash and a G5 airplane if he keeps his mouth shut in Tugg's abduction and murder.
    Peck: Let me get this straight. You want me to let my client of 15 years, one of my best friends, die in the jungle alone, for some money and a G5?
    Grossman: Yes.
    Peck: [pause] A G5 airplane?
    Grossman: Yes... and lots of money.
  • Juno Skinner in True Lies admits to Harold Tasker that she's only helping the terrorists because they are "well-funded raving psychotics."
  • When the Last Sword Is Drawn: Zig-Zagged with protagonist Yoshimura Kanichiro, who leaves his job as a dojo instructor against the orders of his lord to join the Shinsengumi under the pseudonym "Nambu Morioka". As Morioka, he cultivates the image of a money-grubbing coward, but still takes his duties and samurai honor seriously, and sends most of the money he earns back to his family.
  • In Woman in Gold, Holocaust survivor Maria Altmann approaches attorney Randy Schönberg for help in recovering a painting of her aunt that was stolen by the Nazis. Randy initially accepts after learning that the painting is worth $100 million, which he thinks will be good for the law firm he just started working at. However, Randy has a change of heart after accompanying Maria to Austria and visiting the Holocaust memorial in Vienna.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • The Wolverine:
      • Shingen Yashida's big objective is to gain his father's inheritance.
      • Viper describes herself as a capitalist.
      • Noburo Mori is only marrying Mariko for the power and money that comes with such a connection to Shingen.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Mystique accuses Caliban of caring only about money.

  • Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) once runs into a bunch of saboteurs dedicated to the Tau cause who kill nearly everyone aboard a Starship Luxurious, intending to use it as a giant bomb to take out an Imperial General. Cain escapes and makes it to the escape pods, but there he meets one of the saboteurs, who reveals she's actually a burglar, looting the staterooms and leaving the others to heroically give their lives for the Tau cause.
  • The Conqueror from a Dying Kingdom: Yuri starts a publishing house as a way to make money. He is personally disgusted that one of his earliest big money earners is smut appealing to Yaoi Fangirls, but goes forwards with it anyways. He has big plans and really needs the money.
  • Cradle Series:
    • The Eight-Man Empire are a collective Monarch, having found a way to share their powers and match the other Monarchs despite not actually being on that level themselves. They mostly use their ability to be in eight places at once to sell their services to the other Monarchs for whatever they might need. In Reaper, it is revealed that Reigan Shen bought their loyalty as part of his plan to get rid of the Dreadgods for good. Larian, one of the Empire, fully admits that they don't really think Shen can do it (or that he's being straight with them), but any shake-up to the status quo is good for them. Besides, he paid them so much.
    • In Dreadgod, this is subverted. The Empire realizes that Lindon's team has a chance to get rid of not only the Dreadgods, but the Monarchs as well, which would solve most of the world's problems in one fell swoop. So they team up with Emriss Silentborn, the only unselfish Monarch, to help Lindon behind the scenes despite nominally still being employed by Reigan Shen.
  • In the Disgaea novels we meet the Ozonne, who believe money is the solution to helping people, not love like all the other angels of Celestia. Ironic since her sister Flonne is the Love Freak.
  • Discworld:
    • In Interesting Times, Mad Hamish recalls fighting in the Battle of Koom Valley.
      Boy Willie: That was between dwarfs and trolls, Hamish. And you ain't either. So whose side were you on?
      Mad Hamish: Whut?
      Boy Willie: I said WHOSE SIDE WERE YOU ON?
      Mad Hamish: I were on the side of being paid money to fight.
      Boy Willie: Best side there is.
    • The Assassins Guild also follows this creed, you only kill if you're actually going to get paid for it. This is seen as a moral standpoint; killing people out of anger or hatred is murder, but being paid is a motive that is free of negative emotions (unless you consider those of the person paying you, but that's nothing to do with them), and being paid a lot shows you understand how valuable human life is. It's even their Pretentious Latin Motto: Nil Mortifi Sine Lucre.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Ernest Armand "Binder" Tinwhistle, a century-old minor talent mercenary, is also a pragmatic man when it comes to payments. He accepts money and nothing else. When protagonist Harry Dresden has to work with him, Harry tries to win his loyalty by hinting at some of the political factions Harry had connections to, but Binder retorts that favors from Fae Queens and the White Council might sound nice but both groups are schemers and would twist that "favor" into an action that puts Binder in their debt or not be that helpful in the end. He also refuses a coin of the Denarians, which would put a Fallen Angel in his head in exchange for a lot more power. He prefers simple hard currency or gems as his payments.
    • Subverted with Goodman Grey. While he claims to be loyal to whoever hired him, his open bloodlust makes it clear what side he's really on, which makes the price he charges Harry, the one who actually hired him, all the more surprising: One dollar.
  • Harlan Briscor, an unseen suspect in one of Stuart Gibbs Funjungle novels is described as being the dedicated manager of two TV hosts, one a passionate environmentalist and the other and Alt-Right rabble-rouser who wants to abolish the endangered species act, meaning that he takes this attitude with at least one of them.
  • Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine explores and deconstructs the idea that if someone's only interested in the money, you can turn them by offering more money. Adams asks some conservationists in Zimbabwe why they don't pay the poachers not to kill rhinos. The answer is that they would still have to devote all the resources they currently use to stop the poachers towards making sure they weren't killing the rhinos anyway and claiming two paycheques.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy has the Kandra, helping the protagonists only because they're being paid in Atium. Zig-zagged when it's learned that Atium is the condensed power of the Omnicidal Maniac god Ruin and the Kandra are stockpiling it in their caves to keep him from finding it.
  • In Nero Wolfe, the titular detective is very reluctant to accept a case without the promise of a big fat paycheck, due both to his incredible laziness and his expensive tastes (a rooftop greenhouse full of orchids and five star dining every night doesn't come cheap). He's not entirely without honour, however, and can sometimes be prodded into working for free if the circumstances are right.
  • Old Kingdom: In Clariel, Master Kargrin assumes that Clariel will help him capture a dangerous spirit because it's what her Heroic Lineage would do. By that point, Clariel is out of patience for people trying to dictate her actions, so she tells him she'll only do it in exchange for the money and supplies she needs to get out of town afterwards.
  • Reserved for the Cat: Ninette has this motivation at first. It's portrayed sympathetically; it's not that she's greedy, it's that she wants to survive.
  • Second Apocalypse has the scalpoi, mercenaries who venture into the North and collect sranc scalps to turn in for an Imperial reward. They're considered quite unsavory, but they're helping wage a war of extermination for the survival of humanity.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Bronn, Tyrion's dragon only works for the person who will pay him the most. Unlike some cases, Bronn is much less moral than his Anti-Hero employer, and will commit any dirty job so long as he gets a good price for it. Tyrion isn't shocked when Bronn refuses to champion him in spite of their pseudo-friendship since Tyrion's sister, Cersei, has paid Bronn much more for him to not risk his life trying to save Tyrion.
    • Stannis Baratheon, rightful king of Westeros, Azhor Ahai reborn, the man who stands between the world and eternal night... and the guy who can be depended on to pay back the colossal amounts of money the throne owes to the Iron Bank if he wins. As such they're all too happy to give him financial support. It just means they'll get more money in the end.
    • The City Watch of King's Landing, aka "the gold cloaks". Technically, they're supposed to primarily answer to the Master of Laws on the king's small council — because, you know, law and order. In reality, it mostly plays out them doing as either the Hand of the King or the Master of Coin decrees. Take a wild guess which positions have actual access to the treasury and in determining that they get their monthly take-home pay...
  • In The Star Beast, the Rargyllians while honest, are like mercenaries. They would sooner let a man die of thirst on an alien world, rather than tell him the native word for "water", unless money was first offered up-front for their services.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Played straight and discussed in the novelization of The Force Unleashed II when Juno Eclipse tries to bribe Boba Fett to her side. While he is only in it for the money, he refuses on the grounds that the Rebel Alliance likely won't be around long enough to pay his first fee, and sticks with the Empire because he knows that their credit is good.
    • In Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi, Dannik Jerriko was hired to take out Vader's assassin before she could kill the Arrandas. That's it, that's all, as soon as that's done he's gone and never mind the rest of the danger there, it's what he was paid for.
  • Inverted in The Stormlight Archive, where the Lovable Rogue Lift lends her supernatural abilities to a gang of thieves because, while they're off stealing boring old valuables, she gets to enjoy the challenge of eating well-guarded aristocrats' dinners.
  • The villain in the kids' book They Melted His Brain has developed highly effective subliminal messages, which he uses to advertise toys and breakfast cereals. He explains his motivations:
    Why would I want to Take Over the World? There are so many places I would never go: the tops of mountains, the bottoms of the oceans, Burger Shack. No, I don't want the world. Only its money.
  • In Time Enough for Love, Lazarus Long claims that one of the (thousands of) jobs he's held was as a mercenary, that he used it to finance his way through college, and never got higher than corporal because he was only doing it to get enough money for another semester, then he'd quit.
  • Tuf Voyaging: Subverted in The Plague Star, the (chronological) first story in the series. Slightly down-on-his-luck Space Trucker Havilund Tuf is hired to transport some historians and a couple of mercenaries to the location of an ancient starship full of incredibly valuable Lost Technology, and within minutes of setting foot onboard said ship literally everyone is overcome with Gold Fever and its frequent co-morbid condition Chronic Backstabbing Disorder... except Tuf, who steadfastly refuses to get caught up in the madness and insists that all he wants is to collect the second half his agreed fee for doing the job they hired him for, no more and no less. Between the infighting and the automatic security systems the rest of the party triggered through their own negligence, Tuf is the only survivor. Played straight in the rest of the stories, although Tuf isn't above employing a little malicious compliance to get back at a client who he finds particularly disagreeable.
  • In The Witchlands, Aeduen agrees to help Iseult find Safi because she promises to reveal the location of his stolen money, despite the fact that Corlant has ordered him to capture her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sergei Bazhaev in Season 8 of 24, who's only involved initial Big Bad Farhad Hassan because he's set to make lots of money selling him spent nuclear fuel rods. After he gets captured by CTU and sees his deal has fallen through, he actually tries (unsuccessfully) to help Jack recover the rods.
  • Spike at the end of Season 4 and the beginning of Season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Jayne from Firefly. He eventually becomes one of Mal's True Companions.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Bronn makes it clear to Tyrion that he's serving him solely for the riches, even though he does consider him a friend (the pay really "enhances" their friendship, he says). When his services earn him a knighthood, he insists on a higher wage. Eventually, Bronn accepts money and an advantageous marriage to not stand champion for Tyrion in a Trial by Combat, a deal Tyrion cannot match. This later transfers onto Jaime. While Bronn becomes as close a friend with Jaime as he was with Tyrion, he still expects Jaime to pay him — in ever-larger amounts, given the increasing danger Jaime drags him into. However, he's quite a bit less Only in It for the Money on the show than in the books, where he never really becomes friends with Tyrion and makes ever-larger financial demands for increasingly lesser tasks... though he does still name new wife's child after him, so there was clearly something there.
    Tyrion: I thought we were friends.
    Bronn: We are, but I'm a sellsword. I sell my sword. I don't loan it out as a favor to a friend.
    • Littlefinger points out that the gold cloaks will support whoever pays their salary.
    • Defied with Locke: while he certainly likes money, it's ultimately not all that important to him. He'd rather just be entertained. Cutting off Jaime's hand is worth more to him than all Lord Tywin's money, and watching Brienne fight a bear with a wooden sword is worth more than all her father's sapphires (of which he actually has none).
    • The Second Sons are mercenaries who normally fight for gold.
    • Salladhor abandons Stannis after the Battle of Blackwater Bay. He gave Stannis 30 ships in return for gold from plundering King's Landing. The defeat at Blackwater meant that Stannis couldn't uphold his side of the bargain. He re-enters his service however after the Iron Bank gives Stannis a loan and Davos gives him satchels of coins with more sent to his wife.
  • House of Anubis: Pre-Character Development, Jerome was quite uncaring and sneaky, and did things only for his own benefit, usually monetary. The first thing he did when he decided to meet Rufus was take money from him in exchange to spy on Sibuna. He also set up "Donkey Day" in Season 2 to get money, but it was played with- he needed to pay off a Private Eye he hired to find his father, so it was much less selfish this time around.
  • Jeeves and Wooster: Bingo Little replies to Bertie with this when asked why he would ever tutor Oswald Glossop.
    Bertie: What would you want to tutor the Glossop kid for?
    Bingo: Money, Bertie. Moolah. Oof. Spondulicks.
  • A majority of the villains on Leverage. Notable examples include Marcus Starke's crew, who as a Similar Squad provide a strong contrast with the Leverage team (who are motivated equally by cash and a desire to help people), and Mr. Quinn, a mercenary hired by Sterling to give Eliot the worst beating of his life.
  • Miles Straume from Lost, who only joined the freighter crew because he was paid $1.6 million and would be willing to switch sides if he received a better offer.
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "Cigarette Burns", initially Kirby only takes the job offer to look for La Fin Absolue du Monde to pay off his enormous debts. Subverted later on as he becomes increasingly obsessed with the film itself due to its corrupting influence. This is lampshaded by Bakovic's widow who notes that the money is just an excuse.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2024): As they're getting to know each other, John admits that he wanted to get married in real life but chose to take on a new life and identity for the money. Jane is pleased because she did it for the same reason.
  • Andamo of Mr. Lucky seems to be all about the money, all the time, though occasionally it becomes apparent that there are a few other things he prizes more highly.
  • Person of Interest: How Zoe Morgan presents herself to the world; it seems she actually has a Hidden Heart of Gold.
  • An episode of Reba made a reference to this:
    Reba, after watching a recorded clip of Barbra Jean with her dog: I feel bad for the poor sap who had to tape through all of this.
    Kyra: Eighty bucks is eighty bucks.
  • In Star Trek, this is basically the Ferengi's Hat, doing everything just for the pursuit of profit. They will do evil if it will land them cash, but are not willing to just do evil for evil sake.
  • In Veep:
    • Sue Wilson is persuaded to stay on only with the promise of a salary raise.
    • Selina Meyer herself, although in a variation, this is more about political donations rather than personal wealth: she is already loaded. Her team even comes up with codewords for donors who they feel are being stingy: HADDAnote  and GUMMInote .
      Sue: We also have $2,000 from a guy named Paul Duffy from the local dry cleaner —
      Selina: Okay, for two grand, you don't get a call from me, okay? Just send him a button or something.

  • Subverted by Frank Zappa when he released a Mothers of Invention album entitled We're Only in It for the Money, itself the Trope Namer. The cover featured a parody of The Beatles and the whole thing was designed to satirize rock stars profiting off the counterculture.
  • The song "Mang Jose" by Filipino band Parokya ni Edgar sings of the titular character (Mr. Jose) as a superhero for rent. He is described as "being much like Daimos, except that he charges you after saving you". The music video shows him presenting the people he saves with a receipt right after beating up the bad guys.
  • Alan Jackson's "Gone Country" is an affectionate ribbing of artists who Genre Shift into country music, implying they're only doing so for financial reasons because their careers in their original genre have stalled.
  • In Hip-Hop, it's common for Glam Rappers to brag about not caring about anything except how much money they make. (Outside of Kayfabe Music, it's extremely uncommon for this to be the only reason someone wants to rap, and the few rappers who are only in it for the money don't tend to be very positively regarded.)
  • Rip Taylor freely confesses that the only reason he would have anything to do with The Bloodhound Gang is because they paid him "American cashito, dollareenies, no cheques!", as the MC (of sorts) on Use Your Fingers.

  • The Tres Horny Boys of The Adventure Zone: Balance start out like this.
  • Meerkatnip makes it clear multiple times that she's only helping Nic Silver and the TANIS podcast because Nic pays well and regularly. She'll often go along with a request of Nic's with a dismissive "It's your dollar" or similar. That said, she does admit that she's gotten sucked in a little with the search for Tanis and, in her first conversation with Nic following his escape from mortal danger, says she's glad he survived.
  • Strexcorp from Welcome to Night Vale. For example, this representative is really thankful that those "death oranges" they were selling were discovered, since...
    ''"we could have harmed a lot of people on our way to making a ton of money! So very much money. What’s a few lives? So much money!"

    Pro Wrestling 
  • This pretty much defined Steve Corino's attitude towards then fledgling organization Ring of Honor during its early days, as he was set up in direct contrast to Christopher Daniels, who cared deeply about the promotion (read: he wanted to destroy it).
  • Samoa Joe joined Christopher Daniels' Prophecy only because he was paid and later defected to more liked minded Steve Corino's group. In a shocking twist he would revert to this mindset in TNA after fighting the Main Event Mafia for breaking his arm saw him go so far as to try and murder Scott Steiner.
  • With Samoa Joe bought, it was no surprise Jenna Morasca of the Main Event Mafia would also be able to buy off Awesome Kong. However, money only went so far and when Morasca slapped Kong (who had so far succeeded in everything asked), that put an end to all deals.
  • Austin Aries claimed so in TNA, proclaiming this trait made him better than Alex Shelley and Brian Kendrick, who he proclaimed only cared about making sure the fans were entertained (presumably, those two things would be directly intertwined but whatever)
  • This was Wade Barrett's attitude in WWE's version of FCW. However, he felt he was treated so badly on NXT that he had abandoned this motivation by the time he got to the main roster. He was now motivated by revenge.
  • The Devastation Corporation Sidney Bakabella led through Chikara didn't care about glory or even about championship belts. Just about hurting people and hitting the pay window.
  • CM Punk upon his return to WWE in 2023:
    "I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to make money."


    Tabletop Games 
  • A classic way of getting the player characters involved in a plot in games ranging from Shadowrun to Dungeons & Dragons is to have an NPC hire them to do a specific task. The NPC may pay the players directly, be authorized to waive any taxes or fees they'd have to pay on treasure they find, etc.
  • Basic Dungeons & Dragons adventure The Keep on the Borderlands. The ogre in the Caves of Chaos will fight for whoever pays him the most money.
    • The Yuggoloths from the Planescape setting are some of the best mercenaries in the multiverse, and often fight to their death for their employers (mostly because they have Resurrective Immortality). However, if you outbid their current employers, they will immediately turn their back on them.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: Greazer Clutch, a rockabilly space mercenary and bounty hunter, is something of an Anti-Villain because he doesn't have any actual hostility to anyone — he's just a guy who catches people for money. Notably, when his target is incapacitated, he'll bail on the spot in order to get them back to his client, incapacitating himself automatically — although, since his incapacitated effect is pretty nasty, this may not increase the heroes' lifespan much.
  • In Violence™: The Roleplaying Game of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed, the author ("Designer X") invokes this trope, repeatedly asserting that he's only writing this game to make some money so he can pay his bills.
    "And I can't be bothered to do the research, I don't even what to discuss what my fucking advance is, and I'm knocking this out between projects that actually have a chance of paying my rent for the month."

  • Billy Flynn in Chicago.
    "Now listen: I'm not interested in your looks, your age, your sex — nothing except as it affects the case. You mean just one thing to me: five thousand dollars. Get that."
  • In The Club, Geoff is primarily motivated by the monetary incentive for playing, rather than old fashioned ideas of club loyalty. The conflict between love of the game and sports as a business is one of the major themes of the play.
  • Marie Antoinette (Musical): Margrid tries to convince a group of women to join in the March to Versailles for idealistic reasons, but they aren't interested in anything she has to say until Orléans tosses a few gold coins their way. This was something that Orléans was accused of historically.

  • Although there are both noble and malevolent Glatorian in BIONICLE, a lot of them only agree to help out others (or at least, people from other settlements) for a reward. Especially Strakk, who will partake in a battle to have an opportunity at looting the bodies.

    Video Games 
  • In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, Cipher and Pixy initially fight in the eponymous conflict for Ustio's money, as Pixy regularly reminds us on the radio. In fact, many regular forces comment on this in disdain... until both of them are so feared/revered for their accomplishments that nobody mentions it anymore (especially if you take the Knight route). The fact that Pixy goes MIA and is replaced with PJ, who is a commissioned Ustio officer, as your wingman probably contributes.
  • Advanced Variable Geo: While the other waitresses have entered tournament in the spirit of competition, Satomi's only interested in winning the prize money. She's had to support herself and her kid brother and needs the money to cover the cost of the procedure that can cure his condition.
  • Finn, the main character of Adventures to Go! likes the recognition that comes with completing quests, but he mainly does it because he gets paid to do so.
  • Many minor characters in the Armored Core series are explicitly described as purely in it for the money. Since Ravens are, after all, mercenaries (or, as one of the Bureau said it, "Dispute Resolution Agents"), fighting purely for the filthy lucre isn't all that unjustified. People who do espouse this kind of view run the gamut from being simply in love with cash, a greedy bastard who couldn't care less about others, a recently unemployed ex-blue-collar worker who needs to desperately earn a living, a notoriously spendthrift person who uses only energy weapons due to them not having an ammo cost, all the way to a Hitman with a Heart. This tradition is continued all the way to Armored Core: Verdict Day, in which the player character is yet another mercenary eking out a living amidst the war between the Three Great Forces.
    • Subverted with Wynne D. Fanchon, and otherwise the majority of LYNXes in Armored Core 4/For Answer. Being one step above the rank-and-file soldiers that use MT or Normals, some of them truly take the Honor Before Reason approach a bit far.
      Wong Shao-Lung: Do you... have any pride, Wynne?
      Wynne D. Fanchon: Of course. Otherwise, aren't we simply in the business of killing?
    • Also subverted with Rosary in Armored Core V. Although she started out this way, she genuinely grew to be fond of her latest clients: Fran, the daughter of a late revolutionary, and you, the player character. Then double subverted in the ending of the Order Missions, where, when asked what to do by "living for one's own sake", she immediately suggests making money as the first thing to do.
  • In The Babylon Project, the Raiders begin doing mercenary contract work for an unknown employer. At one point they're told to stand down from massacring civilians, and they reply they would miss out on a big payout if they did.
  • Borador in Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II is out to earn as much gold as possible, although his motivation is a bit less selfish than it first appears; his clan owes a massive debt to the elves, and he's just doing his bit to make sure they pay it off. Few people know his clan name, Goblinbreaker, but since avarice is his most obvious trait, he's earned the nickname 'Gold-hand' amongst people who know him.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • Of the 8 assassins hired by Black Mask in Batman: Arkham Origins, only Deathstroke, Copperhead, Electrocutioner, and Deadshot care about the money. This is especially true with Deathstroke. When it's revealed that the Joker is the true mastermind (For the Evulz, naturally) and there is no money involved anymore, he simply stays in his cell and refuses to get involved. Annoyed, he even says that he never would have taken the job had he known there would be no money.
    • In Batman: Arkham Knight, Deathstroke comes back again, and explains the reason he didn't come back earlier is that it took this long for someone to be willing/able to pay enough to be worth his time. He also says that he took payment in advance, making him "contractually obliged" to finish the job. After losing again, he declares now It's Personal and he'll kill Batman for free.
  • The main motivation of the LLC from Battleborn is making money. The faction only does anything as long as a profit could be made. It's the reason why the LLC split from the UPR for "Where's the profit in defending every sentient race if we can't sell our drones to everyone left in the universe?" It's so much so in fact the only reason the LLC's against Solus being darkened is that it no longer existing means no more profit. While they certainly wish to preserve the universe, if it were to come to a sudden and dramatic end however, the LLC would be the group selling tickets to the live stream to watch the last battle.
  • BattleTech (2018) has Kamea Arano speculate that perhaps this is why you joined her countercoup against her uncle — she pays extremely well. She does posit that your intent could also have been genuinely noble, out of concern for the suffering of the Aurigan people, or your participation could have been born of pure spite, a grudge against the Directorate for their assassination attempt on you at the start of the game and their murder of your badass mentor "Mastiff" Montgomery.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine: Wally Franks is always threatening to quit his janitorial job at Joey Drew Studios, but he stays on as work conditions get progressively worse. The only thing that keeps him motivated to keep the job is the money. Considering that the studio was in business primarily through the Great Depression, it's likely that he's the variety that just needs to make a living.
    Wally: Also, get this, Joey had each of us donate something from our work station. We put them on these little pedastals in the break room. To help appease the gods, Joey says. Keep things going. I think he's lost his mind, but hey, he writes the checks.
  • Borderlands:
    • Wilhelm in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! is purely mercenary and has basically no goals in life other than "make a lot of money" and "apply more cybernetics". Everyone gets a recorded ECHO log explaining why they're going to Elpis to hunt a Vault; Wilhelm's is the most direct:
      Jack Recording: Hey Wilhelm, wanna come to the moon and hunt a Vault for me?
      Wilhelm Recording: No.
      Jack Recording: I'll pay you a couple million dollars.
      Wilhelm Recording: Okay.
      [end recording]
      Wilhelm: Yep. That's my backstory.
    • Tales from the Borderlands kicks off this way. Rhys, Vaughn, and Yvette are after the vault key because they want to take back the promotions that their new boss stole out from under them. Sasha, Fiona, and Felix make a fake vault key as their biggest con yet, the one that will set them up for life. Everyone wants one thing: to get unbelievably, mouth-wateringly rich. As time goes on, however, Rhys, Vaughn, Sasha, and Fiona all come to deeply care about each other and think of themselves as a family while tracking down the vault, and so the goal changes to everyone getting rich together.
  • Bravely Default: Flying Fairy: Ciggma Khint, holder of the Spell Fencer asterisk, will only work with anyone who is willing to provide coins for his purse. He isn't above doubling or even tripping his fee, even in the middle of a battle, and will ditch his employers if they fail to pay without as much as a second thought. It's implied he became a mercenary to pay for the treatment of his daughter.
  • Gobi in Breath of Fire joins and stays in your party because Ryu owes him money.
  • Jarmen Kell, the GLA's Hero Unit in Command & Conquer: Generals, is implied to work for money rather than to further the cause (whatever the hell that cause is meant to be, anyway).
  • Mercenaries in Crusader Kings will only fight for you if you have money and they will simply disband if you run out of money. Or worse, they'll sign on with your opponent or try to conquer some of your land.
  • The Bounty Hunter of Darkest Dungeon is at least partially in it for the promise of payment, which comes to a head if he is given the Paranoid or Selfish afflictions during gameplay.
  • In the Descent series, Material Defender is entirely in it for his paycheck from the PTMC, going so far as to grumble that he doesn't really care if they sue him for breach of contract at the start of the second game, but he's got no choice if he wants his money, despite having risked his life repeatedly through a long series of hellish robot-infested mines. Though the third game's plot involves MD working with a group out for revenge against the PTMC, during his final confrontation with Dravis, he seems more concerned with getting his payment than actually stopping the computer virus that's caused all the problems in the first place.
  • Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten: New angel Vulcanus is in it only for the Zenons. She's called the Angel of Avarice for a reason. Hard to say if it's to fuel the Great Flonnger or not...
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Throughout the series, this is sometimes a trait of members of the Fighters Guild, an organization of "warriors-for-hire". There have been several instances in the series of Fighters Guild members refusing a dangerous mission, though this isn't usually an option for the Player Character if he/she wants to advance in the Guild.
    • In the spin-off Action-Adventure game Redguard, the protagonist is the Redguard pirate Cyrus. Cyrus' primary modus operandi is acquiring wealth and treasure, which, as a pirate, makes a lot of sense. He only got involved in the events of the Stros M'Kai uprising because it was made personal when his sister went missing. During his quest to rescue her, Cyrus unintentionally becomes the leader of the Hammerfell Rebellion against the corrupt Imperial governor of Stros M'Kai, leading them to great success. They would have named him King of the Redguards afterward, but he turned them down.
  • In Emerald City Confidential, Dee hires Petra to find her Runaway Fiancé. Petra admits that she only takes the case because of the large amount of money Dee offers. This is later subverted though once Dee offers more money for Petra to get involved in obtaining illegal magical items. Petra refuses.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Professor Ace very blatantly only follows Zophy along on adventures for the opportunity to make easy money. Though he never participates in any combat himself, he'd prefer to let everyone else do the dangerous work. Giant Fist lampshades this by having Professor Ace pick up money dropped when Zophy fights enemies, and as the Bank of Ace for all characters. Money stored in the Bank of Ace contributes to a sum of money that can be used to unlock extra characters, credits, game modes and the like, but also snazzies up the Professor Room the more money is deposited.
  • Fallout 4: In the Nuka-World DLC, upon reaching the tituler amusement park and discovering it's overrun by a Raider coalition, the Sole Survivor encounters the Operators, easily the greediest bunch of cutthroats in the Commonwealth. Rather than outright bloodshed or proving one's strenth as the Disciples or the Pack do, the Operators are entirely focused on gaining as many caps as is earthly possible. They dress flashily for a gang led by a pair of spoiled brats kicked out by mommy and daddy, and they have no compunction for where the caps come from, whether they're earned or stolen.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Shadow from Final Fantasy VI is this. He requests to be paid to join the group, there is a risk that he simply leaves with every battle and he literally doesn't care about the heroes until the world is about to end where he will try a Heroic Sacrifice. From then on, he gets better thanks to Character Development.
    • The summon Yojimbo in Final Fantasy X must be paid for each attack he makes. Which attack he uses depends partly on how much you pay him and partly on his affection level, with higher levels resulting in stronger attacks. His affection level rises when you overpay him or when he uses a strong attack, and it drops when you underpay him or he uses a weak attack.
    • Yojimbo returns in Final Fantasy XIV as the boss of Kugane Castle. The main gimmick of the fight is that the actual antagonist pays Yojimbo to use his ultimate by tossing piles of gold into the arena, which you can intercept to weaken the attack. If you're foolish or clumsy enough to let Yojimbo pick up every last pile, it's a guaranteed wipe.
  • Fire Emblem series has the "Beowulf archetype", a mercenary working for the enemy side who can be bought over to your own with enough cash.
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War's Beowulf is the namesake of this, recruited in Chapter 3 with a payment of 10,000 gold.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, Hugh initially demands 10,000 gold as well. You can haggle him down to 5,000, but reducing his fee also means reducing his stats. Try to go lower and he'll go back to attacking you.
    • Farina from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, only recruitable on Hector's route, requires 20,000 gold. Not even having her sisters talk to her will bring her over. If she is hired, most of her support conversations are bragging about how much she's getting, and her pre-Final Battle quote is reminding Hector about her pay. She's got a noble reason, though; she's trying to pay off big sister Fiora's massive debt after Fiora went against her own employer to save Farina's life.
    • Rennac from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is another example. He was with L'Arachel and Dozla at first as a part of L'Arachel's crusade against evil. He soon left the two after feeling shortchanged when he wasn't receiving any compensation (L'Arachel believes that he's doing it out of the goodness of his heart). When you meet him alone and try to recruit him with Eirika/Ephraim, he joins after you pay him 9,980 gold. However he can join for free if you use L'Arachel instead.
    • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Volke also charges for his services — as a thief in Path of Radiance, 50 gold per lock picked; as an assassin in the same game, 50,000 one-time, and all locks picked afterward are free. Radiant Dawn plays with this characterization, however; while he does cost a 3,000 gold one-time fee for his services for the rest of the game (and you only get him very late in said game), he comes with a weapon that, by itself, normally costs about four times that, and is a worthwhile fighter in and of himself — in short, he's giving you a bargain. Volke also has a Running Gag along these lines; while he charges reasonable prices for his regular services, he charges far higher prices for "tasks" not part of his regular services (such as eating meals with the rest of the company), or to learn his real motivations—in other words, things he doesn't want to do.
    • Humorously subverted in Fire Emblem: Awakening. A group of assassins attack the Ylissean palace to kill the current ruler, but one thief named Gaius lets on that they were only told to kill her once they were five feet from her room, and he was led to believe they were just robbing her blind and he really doesn't want her to die. If the player has the ruler's younger brother Chrom talk to Gaius, he explains his situation to Chrom, who offers to have him join the good side. Gaius says he'll only do it for pay. Chrom is a little peeved at this, but reaches for some cash anyway, only to drop a bag; Gaius looks inside and, accompanied by the delightful voice clip of "sugar...", decides to defect to the good side if he gets to keep the bag. The contents of said bag? Candy that Chrom was keeping for his *other* sister, Lissa. Double Subverted when he says "don't worry about the gold — I'll take that later." Triple Subverted when he says quite obsessively "Unless you have more candy. DO YOU!?"; Chrom says he'll check with his sister, securing his spot as the thief on your party.
  • Goldfinger's Hong Kong contact in GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, who was supposed to provide you with a souped-up sniper rifle to kill Dr. No. "Goldfinger pays me well... but Dr. No pays me better!"
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • Tommy Vercetti from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is in theory only in it for the money, due to his boss's three million dollars getting stolen during a drug deal gone awry. He does build loyalty with some people, though. In turn, Ray Liotta said he voiced Tommy Vercetti for the money. Which is the opposite of irony. Possibly.
    • Franklin Clinton in Grand Theft Auto V. Franklin starts off a down-to-earth street hood but after doing a heist with Michael de Santa and Lester Crest, Lester begins tapping Franklin to perform hits on his behalf to manipulate the stock market. Franklin goes through with it but when Lester attempts to justify his actions as being for the greater good, Franklin brushes him off and replies that he's only looking for a good payday and that there's no way to whitewash how unpleasant his task is.
  • A major plot point in H.A.W.X., where the player works for the PMC Artemis. After spending significant capital to get a defense contract with Brazil, tensions flare between that country and a terrorist organization, prompting the United States to assist with military force. Facing loss of profit (a defense contractor loses out when they're not the primary defense force anymore), Artemis makes the illegal decision to switch sides mid-conflict to support the terrorists, who are paying them more. They then go completely off the walls when they decide to attack US forces in retaliation for the loss of their profit margin (and also to hold the country ransom).
  • This applies to just about every playable character in the Jagged Alliance series to a greater or lesser extent, as well as quite a few of the non-Mook enemies. Exaggerated by "Mike", the top-tier (and top pricenote ) mercenary from the first game; in-game flavour text from the sequel states that he's parted ways with the Association of International Mercenaries because they were tired of his ridiculous salary demands. Not altogether surprisingly, he turns up working for the other side.
  • In Jedi Outcast, Kyle Katarn sarcastically asks Reelo Baruk what a decent crime lord like him is doing associating with the likes of Desann and the Imperial Remnant, and Reelo answers "Making money, of course." He's probably indifferent to who ends up ruling the galaxy.
  • Magnus in Kid Icarus: Uprising. Apparently, he's willing to fight the forces of an evil god for it.
    • Seems to be a Subverted Trope when Palutena discusses his motivation and you see his personal ties to the villain of the chapter. He also seems to actually be doing hero work later on, but it's implied his appearance in Chapter 24 is just him being hired again, this time to face off against Pit, though again it's for the benevolent purpose of making sure he's worthy.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Yuffie mutters that she's going to send a bill to a woman for their service of saving her from a bunch of Shadows. Leon calls her out on this.
  • While many Champions in League of Legends are motivated to fight for their city or for influence and power, Sivir is motivated solely by material wealth and riches and has become one of the richest people on Valoran. She no longer works for Noxus after objecting to their war on Ionia; not on moral grounds, but simply because she foresaw that the war would end in a stalemate.
  • Your Mii gets into trading in Market Crashers to become the wealthiest Mii in the world, just for the sake of it.
  • Mass Effect 2:
    • Zaeed Massani only joins up with Shepard because of the pay. This may end up being subverted if you earn his loyalty.
      Zaeed: This mission doesn't sound like good business... but your Illusive Man can move a lot of credits.
    • Initially this may look like utter stupidity on his part since he is explicitly informed that this is for all intents and purposes a suicide mission...until you talk to him on the ship a few times and he reveals that he's been on a number of so-called "impossible missions" before and has always managed to come out in one piece. He's just that good. (Nevermind that he is usually the only one to get out of his missions alive.) His dossier in the Shadow Broker's ship also shows that he's really unconcerned about survival at this point. One of the retirement plans he considered was buying a ship, packing it with explosives, and ramming the loaded ship at Omega (with him at the helm, of course.) Not that he's anything close to suicidal; one just can't go and settle down someplace quietly after a lifetime of kicking ass.
    • Kasumi Goto also initially appears to play this trope straight, as she tells you when you initially recruit her that Cerberus is paying her very well for her assistance, but it becomes obvious quickly that she's really more of a thrill seeker who considers the money to be more of a bonus.
  • MechWarrior 2 Mecenaries: this is unsurprisingly pretty much your character's only apparent motivation. Summed up rather well during the game's intro movie when your commander fails to make it back to the dropship in time. Right after she's killed and the screen starts to fade to black, the dropship captain tells you "Look at the bright side, kid. You get to keep all the money."
    • No surprise it shows up again in 4: Mercenaries. Castle will occasionally comment on Spectre's various choices of employers, and his responses include things like "We're here for the payday, not the politics" or "That's the mercenary's lot — we go where the pay is."
  • In Mega Man Battle Network, Dark Miyabi and Shadowman.EXE are this. They only care about being paid enough, not about the ethics of their employer.
  • Mortal Kombat has their fair share of people who work only for money: Kano, Kabal, Kira, Kobra and Erron Black, with Erron mentioning it when against Raiden.
  • Bile, the Payday Gang's primary pilot in PAYDAY 2 appears to operate this way. This is most noticeable in the "Aftershock" heist, which takes place in Los Angeles during an 8.8 earthquake. As he is flying to extract the gang towards the end of the heist, he can mention that the authorities are trying to ask him to use his helicopter to help extract injure civilians. He refuses, noting that injured civs don't pay as much as the gang does.
  • In Persona 5, the second Arc Villain Ichiryusai Madarame is a painter and serial plagiarist who only sees art as a tool to make money. His pupil Yusuke, who paints for the sake of beauty, is utterly disgusted when he finds out what his mentor really thinks of art.
  • The Vailian Trading Company in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, which actually helps their case when compared to Rautai. They don't want to trample the Huana culture like the Ruataians do, they just want to do business. And while they're a morally grey bunch, many of them even do so honestly. Though their willingness to overlook the slave trade is a bit of an issue, they can be convinced it's better to wipe the slavers out.
  • Almost averted in the Ratchet & Clank series. When the Thug Leader is discussing a service with a client opposed to their current employer Angela, he initially declines until he's offered a lot of money.
  • Nicholai from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis stands out from other villains in the series for having no grandiose plans of world domination and couldn't care less about Umbrella's larger schemes; he just wants to complete the job they sent him to Raccoon City to do, collect his big-ass paycheck for it, and kill anyone or anything that either gets in the way of that, or can make that paycheck even bigger by being dead. The remake makes him into a bit more of a Card-Carrying Villain, but his primary goal is still to make a huge pile of dough.
  • In Shadowrun Returns dialogue choices allow you to roleplay this way, and the game encourages it by having some times when the only way to get payment for services awarded is to directly ask for it.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey:
    • Jimenez admits outright that he volunteered just because of the pay (he's contrasting himself to the various more idealistic members of the Schwarzwelt expedition). We're not exactly talking the most pleasant human on the planet here...
    • Captain Jack and his mercenary squad are the same way, but unlike Jimenez, they're actual villains.
  • The Wealth aspiration from The Sims 2: most of their wants will revolve around either earning ever more money or spending that money on lavish objects to use or show off. They may want to make friends or build up their skills, but only as a means to get that next promotion at their job, raising their earning power even more.
  • Lawrence the helmsman in Skies of Arcadia makes it clear that he doesn't give a damn about Vyse's goal, but he'll follow him to the ends of the earth as long as he's paid.
    Lawrence: If I had known how big this job was going to be, I would have asked for more than 10,000 gold...
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, Rouge the Bat appears to be this at first, going into action to get her hands on the Master Emerald, but she's actually a government spy trying find out what Dr. Eggman is up to. Although she still insists on getting paid for her services.
    • In Sonic Heroes, Team Chaotix is initially reluctant but is spurred into action when their client offers to "pay them handsomely" — they are working for Dr. Eggman, and Vector knows it, but they are perpetually broke and desperately need the money. They ultimately manage to obtain two Chaos Emeralds and are the extra nudge Sonic needs to defeat the final boss. Eggman WAS going to pay them, but only after he had taken over the world. Vector has had enough of him and forcibly removes the money from his pockets. By that, he means getting revenge on Eggman for forgetting not to pay him. In a subversion, Vector, according to his background, is willing to do anything for money, but he usually does it when there's good deeds involved and he also has a sense of justice as well.
    • In Sonic Riders, the Babylon Rogues are thieves who are in it for the treasure. Eggman signs them onto his scheme by offering to help them uncover their ancient ancestral Babylonian treasure. When the Rogues discover from digging through Eggman's digital diary that the "treasure" isn't actually gold or gems but rather Lost Technology that could possibly be used for world domination, Jet isn't even mad but more disappointed as he gets ready to pull out of the scheme, admitting to his disinterest. It takes Wave pointing out this Lost Technology could be worth a lucrative payday to get him fired back up for taking it out from under Eggman.
  • Another EA/Maxis example would be the Trader philosophy from Spore.
  • Star Trek Online: The Letheans and Nausicaans are mercenaries who joined the Klingon Defense Force because they're being paid.
  • The Bounty Hunter class in Star Wars: The Old Republic is a cross of this and Glory Seeker. They sure as hell aren't loyal to the Empire, and have very little reason to be (especially if you play non-human). Your alignment determines if you're a Hitman with a Heart, a Psycho for Hire, or a Consummate Professional.
    • Depending on how the player chooses to play the Smuggler class, they can be helping the Republic because they feel it's the right thing to do, or just for the money.
  • Balrog from Street Fighter operates entirely on what will earn him the biggest paycheck. Once his boxing career derailed he became a full-fledged criminal in Shadaloo because Bison was paying so well. The promise of money is a good way to keep him in his place since he's otherwise none too bright.
  • Dex from the webgame Strike Force Heroes 2 is the only member of the title team who isn't in it for the cause. He turns out to be the one tipping off their enemies, the evil organization Globex, for cash. He kills West, the General of the team, and Professor Iagi, whose research the team was counting on against Globex's clones, but is ultimately killed by the Globex Leader, who considered him a great pawn, but too expensive to keep around.
  • Ninja Kage from Suikoden is willing to do anything (robbery, murder, deliver messages), as long as he's being paid. In the first Suikoden, you even have to pay him to join you (and he leaves as soon as his contract is up).
  • The Striker in Sword of the Stars: The Pit is a mercenary on Arbuda IV only to search for phat lewt, in contrast with the other characters who are either there under orders or because It's Personal.
  • Tales of Destiny: Rutee's only ever into anything for the money, including community service. At least she has a reason for it; the orphanage she grew up in will get shut down if it doesn't repay a huge debt.
  • Rufus from Triangle Strategy is said to be loyal only to coin, and he'll work for anyone willing to pay him enough, regardless of whether or not he actually likes them. (He frequently calls out Silvio, his current boss, but still accepts his contract for the sake of the money.)
  • Pierre, Lara's rival in Tomb Raider, raids tombs for artifacts like Lara does. However, Pierre only raids tombs for the money while Lara does it for appreciation of the past.
  • The Goblin Alchemist hero in Warcraft III has "For the highest bidder!" as his war cry.
  • Warframe: The Corpus, being a shameless MegaCorp who worship the very concept of Profit, do this a lot. They're even infamous for selling weapons to their own enemies. Part of this is because the Corpus is made up of multiple merchant-kings and guilds who might have different alliances, but most of it is just that they will literally sell anything to anyone.
  • Wario in general. Pretty much any time he's trying to do something it's either to get some treasure or the reclaim the stuff stolen from him, and anything else that happens (i.e. saving the world) is a side effect. (And his rival Captain Syrup is even worse.)
  • While the Teladi in the X-Universe have a very respectable military and rather large industrial capability, as well as having their entire society organized like a MegaCorp, their borderline obsession with profitsss makes it clear that they are this trope; although it shouldn't be discounted that they are a Proud Merchant Race. It's not surprising to see some rogue Teladi operate as pirates who do whatever unscrupulous activity possible, and all in the name of the almighty buckzoid. The encyclopedia explains that this is mostly only true of Teladi spacefarers, however: planetside Teladi exhibit much more variation and can be as cynical or as selfless as any human.

    Visual Novels 
  • Area X: Elcia isn't interested in Project Recovery, she just accepted the job as a Time Negotiator because it paid well.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: Akane Owari is the Ultimate Gymnast, but she mentions that she only became a gymnast in order to win lots of money from competitions by setting records. The Ultimate title is because even though she only does gymnastics for the money, she also happens to be really good at it. It makes a little more sense when you learn about her backstory and find out that she grew up very poor with many siblings and never knew where her next meal was coming from, so she had to do some demeaning work just to have enough to eat. She just wants enough money to never have to worry about food again.
  • In Sickness, this is how Suoh justifies some of his criminal activity, at least towards the beginning.

    Web Animation 
  • The Karate Duo (Numbah One) from Bowser's Kingdom show off this trope.
    • Frogfucius chastises them for embodying this trope in Episode 9.
    • They only help Hal and Jeff in The Movie because Jeff is gonna pay them.
  • In Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers, the gang only agreed to attend university after being told graduating would grant them loads of money. They're not too pleased when SMG4 tells them they now have to get jobs after graduation, leading everyone to beat him up.

  • Achilles Shieldmaidens: Invoked by the Shieldmaidens' recruiter, Colonel Max Nichols, who specifically wanted pilot candidates who needed the job and therefore "wouldn't blow their chance by talking about the program." Emily Doyle grew up poor and the job pays well. Nia Davis says something similar when asked why she wanted to join, though she also says she caught the bug from her father, a mecha test pilot.
  • In Elf Blood, mercenary information saleswoman Carlita Delacroix sells to both sides of the central conflict and is very open about this. She even requests a down payment on information that would ultimately be used to help save a dying client's life.
  • In El Goonish Shive, during "Nanase Craft And The Crypt of Zappiness", Nanase will only go adventuring for millons of dollars.
  • I Don't Want This Kind of Hero: The primary reason why Naga became an official superhero — in today's society, it's a paying job (otherwise, as he points out, classic superheroism was really just hardcore volunteer work).
  • In Lucid Spring, Viktor describes his job as being this, though he seems like a genuinely considerate person at the same time.
  • Marble Gate Dungeon: This is Coleen's motive for delving into the titular dungeon, though with a more heroic twist as she wants the money to pay the taxes for her impoverished village and generally give them a better life.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, November, realizing Perrault has no nobility, offers gold.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Haley starts out with treasure as her main motivation. While she does have a very good reason to gather large amounts of gold, even before then she was greedy. Though she does have a noble streak, and in one case funded a resistance movement out of her own pocket. She's since grown out of it and is now trying to do good just for its own sake (in part because of Elan's influence on her).
    • Miron, one of Tarquin's associates, appears to be mainly motivated by money. He was the one responsible for Haley's money motivation by holding her father for ransom.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, Tagon's Toughs play this to the hilt. The one time they weren't, the Reverend thought Tagon had developed a conscience, until he realized Tagon just hated Xinchub more than he wanted the money. It makes Tagon in particular very easy to manipulate: if you give him the chance to get paid twice for something, he will take it unless it is overtly suicidal, and even then he'll have the brains trust take a look at it to see if there's a way to handle it.
    Dr Bunnigus: We'd all feel really bad if the local biosphere got consumed by nanobots after we left.
    Tagon: We'd still get paid, right?
  • While she's not only in it for the money, Sylvia in Sleepless Domain is certainly the one who exploits the 'magical girls as celebrites' status to make more money the most. Justified as it's revealed after her death that she was the sole breadwinner in her household.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Torbjörn organized the very first expedition in a Forbidden Zone in ninety years to salvage very valuable Old World books and sell them on the black market for a large sum of money. The only reason the crew is doing any kind of scientific reasearch is that this is the official reason for which the expedition got funding.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: Marshall, Carter, & Dark of the SCP universe are only interested in SCPs for the massive profits they make off selling the stuff to the rich, unlike the other organizations, most of whom are Well Intentioned Extremists (the others being a few insane cults, a group which makes paranormal toys, and a group which makes paranormal Dadaist art). They're also the only "organisation of interest" on the list who have willingly surrendered an anomalous object to the Foundation, considering it so exceptionally dangerous that even they won't take money from anyone insane or evil enough to buy it. After all, The End of the World as We Know It would be terribly bad for business.
  • Conversed in the SF Debris review of Star Trek: First Contact (see Film, above). Off of the Enterprise crew's surprise that Zefram Cochrane invented the warp drive to get rich, Chuck points out that a lot of major historical scientists and engineers and whatnot weren't thinking of much beyond how much money they could make from it.

    Web Videos 
  • The Cry of Mann: Frank teamed up with Gergiev at the promise of getting rewarded for his efforts in destroying Mann Corp., expecting a large sum of money and asking for it often.
  • Punz from the Dream SMP is a mercenary, most often hired by Dream. He was willing to do pretty much any dirty work for Dream, from helping him in combat to espionage, as long as Dream paid him, and he was The Dragon to Dream for a long time. However, right before the final Disc War, Tommy left him a chest full of valuables in his base, with signs asking him to stay on Tommy's side. Punz took the money, and not only stopped aiding Dream, but rallied together a team of fourteen people and led them right to Dream's secret vault, where they saved Tommy and Tubbo's lives.
    Punz: I'm sorry, Dream. But you should've paid me more.
  • Michael Bay states that this is his motivation during his appearence in Epic Rap Battles of History. To quote:
    Michael Bay: "If there's one thing I learned, bitch /This game's about /Motherfucking money!/ I make that dollar, y'all/ Motherfucking money!/Even make Mark Wahlberg/ Make some motherfucking money!"
  • Idiotsitter:
    • Billie is hired to babysit the adult Gene as a mixture of legal guardian/nanny/tutor. Being a Harvard grad, she is quite resistant-but she is also quite poor, and is swayed by Gene's father eventually offering double his original price. Slowly, she starts to actually like Gene.
    • "Fight Day" has a textbook example of this trope at work.
      Billie: We're going go in there and tell her that this is over, because it is a terrible and violent tradition.
      Mr. Russel: Yes it is. It is terribly cleansing and violently healing, and if you don't do this, you're not part of the Russel family.
      Billie: I'm not part of the Russel family!
      Mr. Russel: I'll give you a thousand dollars.
      Billie: Let's go beat up your daughter.
  • Oxventure: In the Dungeons & Dragons game, Andy's character, Corazon, is motivated primarily by the possibility of loot.
    Alfred:note  And it's probably worth lots of money!
    Andy: The magic words!

    Western Animation 
  • The Boondocks:
    • Parodied in one episode when we find out that Ann Coulter's entire conservative agenda is a ruse to make a lot of money.
      Huey: Are you even a Republican?
      Ann: Hell no! You think I like going out there, and saying this ridiculous shit?
      Huey: Then why do it?
      Ann: Cause a bitch got books to sell; that's why. Ain't no money in trying save the world.
    • And again in "It's Goin Down", when a plot to unite and inspire the American people is enacted mainly because a few already rich people would stand to make a lot of money.
      Jack Flowers: Don't you have enough money?!
      Ed Wuncler: No.
  • Jack from the Royal Flush Gang in Batman Beyond has this mentality towards the heists his family pulls. He accurately tells his father that pursuing a personal vendetta against Batman isn’t going to make the gang any richer, but King refuses to listen.
  • Sly Sludge from Captain Planet and the Planeteers is, uniquely among the show's villains, motivated solely by profit. His fellow antagonists have a deep, personal hatred of the environment and pollute the world out of sheer spite — even Looten Plunder, a supposedly wealth-obsessed businessman, sinks what must have been tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of his personal fortune into wiping out endangered animals. Meanwhile, all the environmental damage Sludge produces is a by-product of his businesses, not a goal in of themselves, and the result of lax environmental policies which he adopts to save costs rather than just to pollute. In one episode, he starts a very profitable venture disposing of nuclear waste, indicating that if he thought he could make more money helping the planet than harming it, he would, which he ultimately does: he eventually realizes how profitable recycling is and focuses his efforts on mass producing an efficient means for doing it.
  • Flash Gordon (1996): Kobalt is introduced with a comment that he serves whoever pays him the most. Flash correctly guesses that that generally means Ming.
  • Futurama: Played for Laughs in "A Leela of Her Own". Leela tries her hand at blernsball (a futuristic counterpart of baseball), but in a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome, her single eye makes her lack depth perception and repeatedly hit everyone who comes up to bat. Abner Doubledeal, the owner of the New New York Mets, finds out about Leela and offers her a spot on the team as the first-ever female blernsball player, specifically saying that he's only hiring her to raise his profits by turning her into a novelty act. Leela, though, only focuses on the You Go, Girl! aspect of the job and thinks she's a major inspiration, all while Abner keeps pointing out that he's openly exploiting her to make money.
  • In Gargoyles, Macbeth is a subversion. He takes a job with Xanatos to get the gargoyles out of the castle, but Macbeth wants revenge on Demona, and uses the pretense that he's doing it for the money to dispose of his foes without raising suspicion.
  • This was why Peter Potamus made a Face–Heel Turn and orchestrated the plan to brainwash the people into putting Phil Ken Sebben in the White House in Harvey Birdman: Attorney General: he knew Phil would try to get himself impeached and he would make a fortune selling memorabilia for an impeached president.
  • Hurricanes: It's revealed in one episode that Wyn and Genghis would stop working for Garkos if they didn't need the money he pays them.
  • The Ghost in Iron Man: Armored Adventures abandoned his contract on Tony because Whitney paid him more to do so. He shows up later with a new target, indicating the previous hire was mad about him taking a better offer.
    • Then they want him to kill Ironman:
    "You don't have enough money for that."
  • Justice League:
    • In the episode "Injustice For All" Batman is able to convince the Ultra-Humanite to double-cross the Injustice Gang by offering double, and eventually triple, what Lex Luthor was paying (which made sure that the Ultra-Humanite got plenty of opera and the ability to sponsor it when he went back to prison).
    • Also in the episode "Injustice For All", Cheetah, unlike her comics counterparts, isn't a member of the Injustice Gang to rule the world, only to get the cash she needs to reverse her medically-induced transformation. She is loyal to them long after the point where she should have given up, though, especially when she very nearly got killed taking the fall for the aforementioned double-cross.
  • Kaeloo: In one episode, Kaeloo, Stumpy and Mr. Cat are working as spies and have to stop Quack Quack, who is the villain of the episode. They surround him and point guns to his head, so he offers Mr. Cat a pile of cash to turn to his side; it works, and Mr. Cat points his gun at Kaeloo instead. Kaeloo gets angry at him for betraying her, but he says he's only doing it for the money (which he very badly needs).
  • Kim Possible:
    • Dr. Drakken's enforcer Shego only follows orders because he pays her (though it's apparent that she also sticks with him for his "mockery gold" entertainment value). When Ron became a multi-millionaire, Shego considers switching sides.
    • One episode had the heroes-for-hire of Team Impossible, who try to put a stop to Kim's heroics because her willingness to help people free of charge is cutting into their bottom line.
  • In The Legend of Korra, professional competitive firebender Mako doesn't care about glory, fame, the art of bending, or anything else — he just wants the cash prize that comes with winning the league, to keep himself and his younger brother Bolin from getting turned back out on the streets.
  • In the My Life as a Teenage Robot episode "Mist Opportunities", Jenny starts to become disillusioned when her friend Misty makes a stink over the citizens of Tremorton being angry at Misty for demanding payment for her services. At the end of the episode, Misty beats Jenny senseless and claims that the only reason she isn't finishing Jenny off is because no one is paying her to do it.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Daring Doubt", Caballeron persuades Fluttershy to help him find the Truth Talisman of Tonatiuh by claiming that he is a legitimate researcher trying to protect ancient artifacts while Daring Do was swiping them for her own personal gain (when his previous appearances suggested the exact opposite). Yet later in the episode, while he is under the influence of said talisman, he admits that his only goal was taking and selling artifacts to get rich.
  • One episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo featured a man who sells comic books for a living and claims to hate them and that he's Only In It For The Money. The fact his name is Cashmore does help with the impression. However, he's simply too ashamed to admit he likes comic books.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Double Trouble the shapeshifter is very straightforward with Catra: they're ready and willing to act as a spy and informant for the Horde, but only if they get paid, and they will gladly go to the Rebellion if they get a better offer. Several times, it's clear that Catra is forgetting this, treating them as a real friend after Catra has managed to alienate every other one she has. Sure enough, after getting captured and seeing the tide of the war turn, DT gladly works as The Mole for the Rebellion in exchange for their freedom.
  • Parodied on The Simpsons where Krusty the Clown is quite often shown taking roles that are beneath even him (which is saying something) because his incredibly poor money management skills have left him constantly in debt. In one episode, Bart chastises Krusty for lending his name to an inferior production, to which Krusty replies, "They drove a dump truck full of money up to my house! I'm not made of stone!"
    • "Bart vs. Itchy & Scratchy" has Krusty introduce an all-female remake of Itchy & Scratchy, openly admitting that it had everything to do with profiting off of feminism and nothing to do with advancing the cause.
  • South Park:
    • In one episode the boys (minus Cartman) go on strike because nobody will legally purchase their music and many famous pop artists such as Blink-182, Master P, Lars Ulrich and Britney Spears come to join them. However, days go by and they don't make any progress in people agreeing to stop illegally downloading their music to the point that the boys who started the strike decide to give up and focus on just simply making music out of creativity and passion instead of profit. The rest of the musicians remain in the strike, with Britney Spears adding, "We're just about the money".
    • In "A Ladder To Heaven", Alan Jackson appears to sing "A Ladder To Heaven," with a news reporter referring to "Where Were You ..." and suggesting the song was written merely to cash in on the terrorist attacks. Show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who were critics of the song, hold this opinion in their DVD commentary on the episode.
  • A rare case on The Spectacular Spider-Man where Sandman only wanted to make a big score and not try to hurt anybody. When his actions caused an oil tanker to catch fire, he saved everybody on board (even Spider-Man) and seemingly performed a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the explosion from harming anyone on shore.
  • Transformers Decepticon Swindle is this. True, he's a Decepticon. But as early as G1 he's sold his own teammates for parts when they were paralysed, and will sell out to anybody, for anything. In Transformers: Animated it's pretty much stated that he's only classed with the Decepticons because Megatron is his best customer.
  • In an episode of Wolverine and the X-Men (2009), Wolverine accuses Gambit of selling out his kind for a little bit of cash.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): For The Money, Doing It For The Money


ERB Michael Bay's verse

Michael Bay comes in to show the rest of the directors what making movies it's truly about: making motherfucking money.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (31 votes)

Example of:

Main / OnlyInItForTheMoney

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