Giving it all away! Good idea?

by Nick on August 6, 2010

Earlier this week I saw this article on USA Today’s website and it got me thinking.  Before I get into my thoughts I want to send a “shout out” to the folks who signed up.  I know nothing about them or their lives, but this is a very nice gesture.  This is the ultimate in financial freedom – having so much that you can give hundreds of millions of dollars to charity when you pass.  And let’s not leave out making the choice to do it!  Wow.

So these thoughts ran through my mind reading this:

  • Why am I working so hard for financial freedom? 
  • Is it for me? 
  • For my family? 
  • For others? 

The short answer: all of the above.  Here’s a bit on each.

For me:
In a selfish way, I want financial freedom so I can choose when I work and what I work on.  I love my job, but I still “need” it.  I do not want to “need” anything that is not entirely under my control (any psych majors out there feel free to diagnose me in the comments).  I think it will reduce my stress levels.  I know there will be other stresses, new stresses.  (Is stresses a word?)  But that’s OK.  That’s my thinking at least.

For my family:
This is easy.  For many of the same reasons as the selfish ways I want financial freedom for my family.  I do not want my son to worry about things like whether he can afford to go to college. 

Also, a lot of what I’ve read lists finances as the number-one stress on a marriage.  I know the rich have marital problems just like the poor.  But I know me.  I know my family.  We are simple people.  And financial freedom does not mean we are one of “the rich” to me.  It means we have control.  We do not work jobs because we need to.  We do not live where we are because we have to.  We can live our simple life, wherever we want.

(We’ll talk about my thoughts on college in a future post.  Sneak preview – in a purely business/financial analysis I do not think it’s worth spending over $200,000 to qualify for a $35,000 per year job unless you will never need the money and that career “completes you,” to borrow a term from Mr. Gerard Maguire.  Yes, I saw it.  This is a very short answer and over-simplified, but feel free to disagree.  I’ll expand and explain later.)

For others
This is the ultimate.  Talk about leaving a legacy of “good.”  I believe in giving.  When I go to sleep for the last time, I want there to be enough to take care of those I love who I leave behind, but also to leave the world a little better than when I was here.  It’s a little hokey but that’s OK.

Bottom line:
Say what ou want about big business or the rich, but take a moment and check out the list of people who are giving back on such a large scale.  It looks like they’re going to be helping a bunch of people when they’re gone.  Good stuff.  Here is the link to the full list.

So how can we get to the point where we can leave more than enough to take care of our families and others?  I’m still working on that.  But the first step is easy – say it with me:

Until next time – put the credit card down and slowly step away from the mall!

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