As I said in my introduction to this topic, generosity is a subject not often broached by financial independence bloggers as it’s largely a personal thing and therefore no hard-and-fast rules can really be set.
However, what we can do is talk about our experience and/or what we think are good ideas when it comes to being generous while on the road (and after achieving) financial independence. This first post will discuss giving to charities. It’s worth noting that under this I include charities that are religious, such as World Vision, so I won’t be discussing them in my next post about religious giving.
At the end of the day, any donations you make to charity are going to be dollars not compounding in investments, so it is important to ensure that your generosity is deliberate. Some people have regular charities or causes they support. But even if your giving strategy is to just respond every time you are given a prompt (e.g. at the checkout at The Warehouse, by the Sallies during their Red Shield Appeal, friends’ Facebook posts about Givealittle campaigns), still ensure you have a set part of your budget for this that you stick to. That way, once that “bucket” is empty you know not to respond to any more prompts until the next week/fortnight/month or whatever cycle you budget on.
Conversely, if you find yourself not emptying your generosity bucket each pay cycle, that’s a good indication you can probably be parting with a bit more money each time you’re prompted and I encourage you to actually give away all the money you have set aside for that purpose and not consider any un-donated money to be a “bonus” for yourself.
Another factor to consider is how you’re setting an example for your children, if you have them. Despite having to often be reminded about how to share, kids do tend to be surprisingly generous when compared with adults as they haven’t yet been exposed to the financial stresses that tend to lead us older ones to cling tightly to any money we get our hands on.
Be deliberate about how you nurture their generosity. We used to add something for the food bank to our weekly grocery shop and let our kids take turns being the one to put it in the food bank bin as we exited the supermarket. This is something we really need to start doing again! When they are a bit older we might introduce them to Givealittle (It’s the NZ version of GoFundMe) so they can start choosing causes to support and make regular donations.
I think we’ve seen recently all around the world how important it is that we all have each other’s backs. Being generous and encouraging the next generation to be generous is more important than ever. How about you? Do you have any strategies you use to teach your kids about giving?
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