I’ll give when I have more money. That is a nice excuse because it sounds great and makes me look good. I said it for a lot of my life. I had opportunities to give wedding gifts to friends who got married. But I was unmarried and in college, so of course they could not expect that of me. I never bought anyone a wedding gift until I got married and realized how nice it is to have people buy you gifts. I had opportunities to give money to people in need. I did occasionally, but not as much as I should. But why should I? I was a poor college student; I had no money to give.
When I began my career, I received a lot of information from my employer about insurance, benefits, pay and the like. One of the emails talked about the importance of giving. They said that giving money is a principle of wealthy people and I should make a goal to give money at least once per month. The excuses began to enter my brain again. Why should I give? I’m a newly married person with a low paying job trying to save up for a house. I cannot afford to give away money. I realize now that I will always have an excuse for the rest of my life. Soon it would be that I would have a new child. Next the car would break down. Then I would have another child. Then my children would be going to college, and I would have to pay for that. As I received pay raises, my expenses would rise with them.
My wife and I have become much more generous with our giving. We are now buying wedding gifts and giving away money monthly.Each time we give money, I feel the excuses start to float into my head about why we cannot afford to, but I choose to give anyways. I have learned an important lesson. We don’t miss the money once it is gone. We don’t think about that money anymore. Money comes into our bank account, and money flows out, and we don’t remember it once it is gone. The thought of giving hurts worse than giving itself.
This philosophy clearly has its limits to where it can apply. There are some cases in which people really cannot afford to give any money because they are barely scraping buy living paycheck to paycheck. I am not advocating putting anyone’s family at risk by giving away too much money. The point is that a lot of us can give more than we think that we can.
I have a story that illustrates this point. In college, I had to pay a security deposit on my apartment as well as rent for March and April of the next year even though I was only going to stay for the summer. It was a weird rule, but I spent $750 on it. I didn’t get that money back until after the summer. By the time I remembered to get my money back, it was about October. When I got the money, my mentality was “Wow! I just got $750!” Not “Man, I’ve really been needing this $750 for months now”. That is because once the money was out of my bank account, I forgot that it was there. That is how giving works in a lot of cases. The thought of giving is harder than the actual action.
Why give then? There are multiple reasons. One would be the humility to realize that we haven’t come to the point we are at without tons of people giving to us, so we should repay the favor. Another reason is because it makes us better people. Another would be the financial principle that wealthy people give money. The last and most important reason for us, is that it makes us happy to give. We truly feel like our life has improved since we started giving more.
Ultimately, whether it is money, time, talents, kindness, etc., we all have something to give. By giving, we can help others. We also begin to open our hearts to understanding that we can help those around us, which makes us happier, as well as making us a stronger influence in shaping the world, for good.
At Believe, we are working to change the world, for good. We are a community of people who are willing to work and help one another. We would love to have you join us. The world may never be the same.