Can Givers also be Getters? How is it that getting involved in fundraising and charitable causes is a hallmark of most millionaires even BEFORE they become millionaires? Such was the conclusion of Thomas Stanley in his 2001 The Millionaire Mind book (Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 377).
In their landmark Millionaire Next Door publication, Stanley and his co-author, William Danko, found that many millionaires gave to charitable causes at a rate twice that of other Americans with similar incomes but lower net worth.
I’m not going to suggest that we can become millionaires (meaning we have a net worth of more than $1,000,000 beyond the home we live in) by giving away all of our money. However, I do believe that there is something intrinsic, something organic in the process of giving that leads us to appreciate (use with more wisdom) our income, become better stewards of our resources, and build important social networks (not the online variety) that enable us to build a higher net worth than others with similar incomes to our own.
If we’re not natural givers (and there are many of us who aren’t), we should consider putting our philanthropy on autopilot. Here are some suggestions for making giving a larger and more meaningful part of our lives:
- First, accept that automating our giving does not cheapen it.
- Determine the amount we’re going to give regularly. If the amount we choose is easy to give away, it won’t mean much. The amount we give should make us a bit uncomfortable considering what we feel we can afford.
- Set up an automatic contribution using our bank or credit union’s free online bill pay or by setting up an automatic withdrawal directly through the nonprofit beneficiary.
That’s it! Easy enough. To whom to give is a subject in my upcoming book, launching fall 2013.
Tell us about your giving habits: