Generosity is Awesome.

I know a few people who just exude generosity, and I definitely want to be like them. But a lot of the time it’s hard to be generous, especially with our busy lives and tight budgets. But being generous is so important, and the benefits are so great – it’s such a part of living our ultimate lives – that we have to do it.

To me, there are two things that keep us from being generous: Not being willing, and not being able. Most people are willing to be generous, but their finances don’t enable them to be, so I’m going to focus on that – giving yourself the ability to be heroically generous.

We’ve probably all had opportunities to give to others in need. At work, those opportunities come up fairly often. Maybe it’s a seasonal thing, maybe it’s the retirement of the longest-tenured employee, maybe your office sponsors a charitable organization for a while, maybe a co-worker’s family hits a rough patch. Whatever the occasion, someone passes the hat through the office to collect donations of money, time off, etc.

So this one time at my work, an announcement goes out, the hat is being passed, and I call my wife to see if we can chip in. Being the saint she is she says, “Sure, we have some extra money, go for it!” I donate what was in my wallet, maybe twenty bucks.

A couple days later, I discovered something that broke my heart – I was the only one who donated.


I’m sure everyone felt like they wanted to, but just couldn’t make it work financially.

This has to stop.

It’s my goal as a financial coach to help people break free from debt, build wealth, and live their ultimate lives, and I talk about the intangible benefits of financial freedom a lot. But this incident at the office made it real for me – it actually kind of made me mad.

Now, it’s personal.

We should all be in a position to help other people! We make way too much money to not have any! It seems like years ago, people were able to toss a dollar or two into the hat all the time because they were stable. That should be the norm.

I know debt is the number one reason people don’t save, and I’m willing to bet heavily that debt is also the number one reason people can’t give.

That’s why debt frustrates me so much! Our culture puts so much pressure on us to live high, borrow, and keep up with… that one family that seems to have it all figured out. We’re constantly encouraged to put ourselves in a financial position where we acquire “all the things,” but leave no room for anyone else.

That’s supposed to be the good life?  Having the hottest stuff, but we can’t even toss a fiver into the hat the office!?

Dang it! Dang it to heck!

And I get it. It’s really hard to give when you’re in a spot where you could use the money in the hat yourself.

I’ve been there, and I hated it.

But even when I was a starving college kid I resolved to give a little anyway. And you know, I’m glad I did – because it built the habit of giving.

Building giving into our budget has always been something we’ve done as a family. Even just a few dollars a week earmarked for giving can make a difference – not just to who you give it to, but in your own mind and heart.

The more we practice generosity, it inspires others to do the same – like those commercials (that no one remembers what they were about) where the one guy sees a lady do something nice, then he does something nice for someone else. We can elevate our community by putting positivity into it whenever we can.

Here’s another story that makes me think. When the canned food drives come around, I always toss in a few dented, outdated cans of beans or jars of random stuff I bought because it was on sale and never used.

But someone once told me what their young child said when they were doing the same thing, “if we’re giving to poor people, shouldn’t we give them our favorites?”

Wow – Right in the heart!

Yes! We should give our favorites!

We should live free so we can share our favorites all the time!

What really gets me excited is by mastering our money, we’re able to give more than ever – and it rocks! We don’t have to treat canned food drives as an opportunity to clean out the cupboards – we can give away what we actually eat. We can grab a ton of those “angel tree” giving slips that pop up in business lobbies around the holidays. We can toss that dude on the street a hamburger or drop a Benjamin in the plate at church JUST BECAUSE!

That’s freaking awesome.

I’m not saying that to brag, I’m trying to highlight the magical thing about giving. When you can give someone something they need, but can’t get on their own, you become a hero to them.

So How can we break through the noise and set ourselves up for heroic generosity?

I’m glad you asked!

It comes down to being in a secure, stable financial position first. Once you reach a position of financial freedom and security, then you can afford to help other people without even thinking about it (just be sure to ask your wife).

Basically, It’s easier to help people climb the mountain when you’re closer to the top. It’s like the saying about not being able to help the poor when you’re one of them.

So let’s not be poor! Do this:

  • Destroy Debt – the biggest waste of money on earth
  • Save a Security Fund of a few months’ worth of expenses
  • Develop a firm bank account cushion
  • Establish a cash-flow outline (a budget but cooler) that includes giving

That’s it. The more net wealth you build, the more heroic your generosity can become. And that’s what it’s all about.

A fat stack of money on it’s own doesn’t do anything. It’s about using that fat stack to live well and help others live well. Those are the things that money is good for. It’s like owning a big, ripped draft horse – pretty to look at, but you see its real value when it’s flexing those huge muscles doing something super-humanly powerful.

So friends, no matter where you are in your financial journey, I encourage you to take up a mindset of generosity and build giving into your budget this year – even if it’s just a few dollars at first.

I also encourage you to build wealth with a purpose. Be intentional about climbing that mountain so you can enjoy the view and throw bigger, stronger, and more numerous ropes to the folks scrambling along in the foothills.

When we look back on our achievements and proudest moments, I want us all to have been able to change people’s lives.

I want all of us to be heroes.

I’m no millionaire mountaineer, but I want to throw you a rope. If you want to get started mastering money so you can be heroically generous, sign up for personalized financial coaching. Mention this post, and I’ll add a career analysis meeting to your coaching service at no charge. I’ll help you identify what you ultimate life looks like and which steps to focus on to get you there. We’ll defeat your debts, establish a cash-flow plan, and boost your savings so you can be free to do more of what you love. Let’s do something amazing together! Let’s make 2018 your first year of heroic generosity!

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