Personal Finance column: Principled giving this holiday season – Glenwood Springs Post Independent

The season of gratefulness and generosity is upon us. Do you want to do your financial gift giving with intention for optimal impact? Motivations around giving are very personal. Your financial generosity combined with relational resolve makes local and global change POSSIBLE. What are your charitable catalysts?

P – Passion for a cause or concern

O – Opportunity to change lives

S – Simplicity: “I have enough, and giving helps simplify my life”

S – Satisfaction: “It give me great joy to give of my resources”

I – Impact: “I want to make a big difference”

B – Beliefs: “I want to live in alignment with my religious or spiritual beliefs”

L – Love: “I love my family and want to express it financially”

E – Equity: “I want to share what I have with the world”

To optimize your giving outcomes, search your heart and scrutinize your thoughts. Sad to say, financial giving can do more harm than good. Whether you give to family members, or to nonprofit organizations, take time to do the heart work and homework.

Here are four questions to ask yourself as you consider financial gifts to loved ones.

What type of life opportunities or difficulties do you want to address? Is a family member going to school or starting a business venture that you want to invest in? Are there health complications that you can assist with? COVID-19 has thrown a new curve ball at us and makes this more difficult. Discern between a financial lifeline or umbilical cord. Caution abounds if you answer this one with, “I want my kids to have it easier than I did”; or “They have become accustomed to a standard of living, so they need my support.”

What will truly be helpful — not hurtful or enabling? You want to foster a mindset of empowerment, a “hand up” to the gift recipient. In the words of Warren Buffet, “Give them enough so they can do anything, but not enough so they can do nothing.” Too many times, financial gifts create an “entitlement” mindset. This is dangerous territory, as self-worth is confused with net worth, and future expectations become entrenched. A financial gift can be seen as “found money” and treated differently (more readily spent thoughtlessly) than money that was earned through personal efforts.



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