Above all else, I believe the primary key to disciplined financial management is to give generously. While this may seem counterintuitive, I believe one of the greatest ways to accumulate wealth is to give it away. This is probably the hardest thing to do–especially for those of us who care about managing our wealth.
It is so easy to become attached, even obsessed with our money that it distracts us from functioning normally. For many focused on disciplined financial management, money becomes a lens through which we view every aspect of life. Without much effort, those who are savvy savers often become obsessed with their bank accounts and net worth. They panic when the market isn’t going the way they want. This intense focus on the piggy bank ultimately makes us focus on ourselves. In turn, wealthy often become stingy, not wanting to spend a penny more than we need to.
Overcoming the Love of Money
So why do I feel that giving generously should be first? It’s simple: love.
We’ve all heard the quote from 1 Timothy 6:10 that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Let’s focus on just that first part, the love of money. When I was dating my wife, I would do anything to prove my love, even stupid things. Towards the top of that list was the time I intentionally missed a flight and spent the night in the airport so I could surprise her and be on her flight the next day. We do anything for the things we love. We hold on to the things we love so tightly that it makes us go a little crazy. Clinging to money can drive someone to insanity, stinginess and ultimate discontent.
When we give generously, we are able to release our clutch on money. It helps us keep our finances in perspective, they are just a fleeting thing–like age, like beauty. Money is here today and gone tomorrow. The stock market could capitulate into abyss of red for a prolonged period of time; disaster could strike that requires using every penny you’ve got to get back to where you need to be. Whatever it may be, when we get in a pinch, those of us who have been hesitant to give almost always become paralyzed. When chaos strikes, we get wrapped up in our wealth losing our identity in the clinched fists of our finances.
4 Reasons to Give Generously
- Giving Keeps Money In Perspective: When you give away your resources, you are actively reminding yourself that what you’ve been given is a gift that you’ve been entrusted with. You are able to understand the importance of money goes farther than a number in a bank account or the price tag on a house.
- Giving Helps Others: It doesn’t matter if it’s $20 or $20,000. Giving can change a life. The act of giving not only keeps money in perspective but allows you to pour into someone less fortunate than yourself. Even the smallest bit of generosity can make a significant impact.
- Giving Breeds Generosity: When we give of our financial resources, it spurs us on to be generous in more areas of our life because we become detached from the love of money. It causes us to be more generous with our time, with our homes, with our cars, with our resources.
- Giving Regularly Leads to Disciplined Financial Management: One of the greatest things I have seen in my personal finances is a regular amount of money I give to our church every week. While God does not need our money, it is a small way to give back to the Lord for all he has given me. Giving consistently however, leads to disciplined financial management. It weekly reminds me the priority of where my finances are. It allows me to invest in something far bigger than myself. Giving produces the biggest ROI.
It is for these reasons I have put “Give Generously” at the top of My Philosophy of Personal Finance. I believe that giving can change your perspective and can ultimately be the springboard for a life of disciplined financial management.