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Beyond money: Get wealthy by giving

In order to obtain true wealth, we have to make a difference and help others in the best way that we can.



“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey

In my youth, whenever something bad happened, my mom and dad said, “Well, it could be worse.” I’ve grown accustomed to training myself to jot down things I’m grateful for every day.

Searching for a beautiful nugget in the worst situation can tweak your focus from what you lack to the abundance in your life. 

Wealth is an attitude, not a dollar amount.

My mom is really proud of the “get wealthy” financial education and information I disseminate.

I’m sure it reminds her of my dad, who was my first “investing” teacher. But mom also harbored a bit of concern as well. After all, money isn’t everything, and I wasn’t raised to be selfish. In fact, charity was an early tenet of my upbringing. From the quarter I contributed at the temple Sunday school to the nickels, dimes, and quarters I collected for Unicef in elementary school, my mom and dad wanted me to think of others.

My dad shared stories about his mom who was very poor but always had food or a few coins for those less fortunate than she was.

This is a long way around the “get wealthy” topic. Yet, the older I get, along with losing both my dad and my mother-in-law, I’ve come to feel the reality that “you can’t take it with you.” More than a platitude, it’s reality. So, think about this, if you spend the totality of your life focused on amassing financial wealth, and then you die; what have you gained?

Whereas if you consider a grander view of life, to include the value of your immediate friends and family, as well as the national and global community, you may find your life really amounts to something.

Get wealthy: What is missing?

We have a budget.

We have allotments for regular expenses, savings, and extras; but is that enough?

To get wealthy, something is missing?

If there is no charity or service to others, our life and our budget are deficient.

The wealth components

You cannot have a wealthy life without contributing to others. Wealth goes way beyond your pocketbook or your net worth statement. In fact, in many cases, I’ve felt the wealthiest when I’ve been in service to others.

How do you build up the “non-money” wealth?

First, decide how much to allot to charity. Spend as much time thinking about how to contribute to others as you do when thinking about how to lower your auto insurance rates. Your age and income will influence your giving. Your personal interests will determine which charities you support

Giving back

One cannot be wealthy without knowing how to give back. (Source)

Think about how you want to serve others. Do you have more money than time? Then you may prefer to set aside part of your earnings to help others. Are you interested in health, education, culture, children, homelessness, religion, animals or other areas? There’s a never-ending opportunity to help those without the opportunities that we have. Ebola is in the media, maybe Doctor’s Without Borders pulls at your heartstrings. If you are concerned about children, Unicef is a global advocate.

Charity Navigator is a great site to research a wide range of charities.

You can automate your financial giving. Barbara does this quarterly with Network for Good. It’s simple, you choose your charities, specify an amount and a time frame. Then your contributions are automatically directed to your charities several times per year.

Get wealthy by giving your time

Do you have more time than money?

How about serving at a soup kitchen. You can check in once in a while or every week. There’s always a need. 

Athletically minded? Participate in a walk or run for a cause. 

Crafty? Create blankets, hats, etc. for homeless children or those in the hospital.

Be a big brother or sister and mentor those without an adult role model.

Homelessness is a tremendous national issue, as is youth homelessness. Stand up for Kids serves those 18- to 24-year-old kids without a home. Mentoring these kids can change the world for them.

Get wealthy by giving a takeaway

The amazing part about giving to others is that it usually helps the giver as much or more than the receiver. You lose the self-obsession, the unhelpful negative comparisons with others, and the self-pity that we all fall into once in a while. It’s almost magical the way service to others lifts one’s own spirits. 

Try this when you’re feeling down. Reach out and do something for someone else. I promise you’ll feel better.

Really, money is only good for buying material goods. And how long does the joy of a new tech gadget, outfit, handbag, or flat screen television last? (Okay, the TV happiness may last awhile.) Humans have a unique ability to habituate to their circumstances. That’s great when we’re in a negative situation that we can’t get out of–we get used to it. But the new things we buy become not so exciting, and we feel diminishing enjoyment from them.

True wealth is not an accumulation of boatloads of money. It is a life filled with service to others, meaning, and feeling we’re making a difference.

DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.

Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS is a former investment portfolio manager, author of Personal Finance; An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management and How to Get Rich; Without Winning the Lottery. Friedberg is a former university Finance and Investments instructor, and publisher of and Her work has been featured in U.S. News & World Report, Yahoo! Finance, GoBankingRates, The Huffington Post and many more publications.