I was blessed to hear a story this morning of a couple’s generous, compassionate and altruistic life.
Often as a financial advisor, a lot of my discussions with clients are focused around how much is needed for retirement, or possibly for some life goal that is the center of the immediate focus: 529 College Plans, UGMA/UTMA (Uniform Gift or Transfer to Minor), or even a new toy. The main question I address most consistently is: “How much do I need to retire?” The concern that we all are addressing when we ask this question is as important as: “How much do I need to have to pay the grocery bill?” or “Do I have the savings in place for the tires I will need this winter?” Planning for retirement, future or even current expenses is simply Responsible! But can we be responsible and generous at the same time?
Another story I heard recently was about a wife that was in the grocery store one day, and was moved by events near her and chose to take a small portion of her grocery monies and give it to someone she saw in line that she was certain needed it. Later the couple talked through this reaction and began setting aside a monthly allotment specifically for those moments when they saw a need. With this planning, they were able to be better prepared for situations that could easily arise, but not catch them off-guard.
Planning can seem like it is entirely personally centered, yet it need not be. It is completely natural to address personal immediate concerns before thinking beyond ourselves, but there are some that have an awareness of a bigger world that causes them to react to these areas of need, even when there is no personal “gain” in the activity. We can benefit from following their example. Solomon wisely stated: One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Prov 11:24-25)
If, when you are planning your finances, you consider setting aside a specific amount for those moments when a little generosity would really have an impact, you will begin to see ways that you can have an impact on your community that will warm your own heart, and those that you share your abundance with.