The Ripples Of Giving: Why Giving Time And Money Is Great

The following is a guest post by newcomer Jeremy Johnson on why giving time and money is great. Jeremy is a husband and father of two girls (a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn). He recently created a website dedicated to helping people realize their dreams and ideas, make progress on them, and see them through to completion. Enjoy!

Have you ever wondered why some people give thousands or even millions of dollars to charities and other organizations for a good cause? Why do some people spend hours on end selflessly parting with their finances and free time just to help other people? Could it be for the tax breaks alone?

There's a formula for wealth and happiness that confounds the grumpy and unfulfilled person. It's not that other people are just lucky and born happy. It is that the ‘lucky' and ‘born happy' person has discovered one of life's most simple, yet lucrative formulas for real wealth and happiness.

You're probably wondering what the magic formula is by now. What could possibly give you wealth and happiness that overflows your financial and fulfillment coffers? 

The formula is giving – giving of not only your finances, but of your time and talents, without expectation of reward. Pure and selfless giving well beyond what you could ever expect to receive back is life's magic formula for real wealth and happiness.

The effect of throwing a stone into any body of water is really fascinating. Even a small stone will hit the water and cause a ripple. That is it will cause the water around it to cascade outwards creating an area of effect far greater than the size of the stone that initially hit the water. And the bigger the stone used, the greater the ripple effect.

Methods of Giving

Some may have the notion that giving a 10% tithe to a religious institution is important. Or some may believe that giving 10% of your income to a charity is sound practice. These are indeed both great ideas and will provide financial support provided you give your money to institutions that are reputable.

In addition to financial giving, a 10% (or some percentage of your choosing) of your time, abilities, and talents can and should also be given to others. And by giving, I don't mean with the intent to get paid for it – that doesn't count! This is simply serving one or more people with the unique gifts and talents you already have.

Financial giving is usually straightforward. You cut a check or hand over a pile of cash to the group or person you want to serve. But giving of your time, abilities, and talents requires the examining of the groups or individuals you wish to serve. It requires examining the unique value you have to offer and then finding the areas in which individuals and groups are challenged.

The Benefits of Giving

The giving of 10% of your time, talents, and abilities to help others where they are most struggling is not normal behavior. Life tends to pull us towards what we can do for our families and ourselves. By giving yourself to a cause greater than who you are, you strengthen others selflessly and increase your ability – and the needs of others at the same time.

If you think that's crazy, think about reciprocity and karma. Think about affecting a large whole through your gifts and talents. Then, think about throwing a stone into a pond and from that small stone, a ripple effect moving outward, affecting a larger whole. Next, think about the wealthiest and most fulfilled people and the large number of people their charities benefit in the world, both financially, and through time and service.

The strengthening of a whole happens when others are made better through your unique gifts.  Perhaps your unique gifts create something that saves the time of others, or brings people together in a cohesive group, which adds to the success as a whole.  Perhaps your giving prevents someone from going downhill in their life and then that person begins to add value and the ripple affect grows and grows. Your ripple source will continue to bounce and affect others well beyond your initial offering.

Double Benefits

Your simple acts of giving enhance those you affect. And by doing so, you are in turn enhanced and exposed – in a good way – as someone of great value. If you don't believe there is anything in it for you, think about the course of each life you enhance through your unique talents and gifts – and the people then enhanced by them.  It’s often about your gift to the world and the faith that reciprocity will find its way back to you while at the same time not expecting it.

From personal experience, I know that giving of me reaps rewards far greater than had I sat on my can and done nothing or selfishly promoted myself. The rewards of selfless giving include financial and personal growth rewards!

I've increased in human understanding and intelligence through serving others and learning what helps them. I am a more capable employee at my full time job because of the lessons in life I am learning through giving to others. 

This allows me to work in a position that pays a higher salary than I would otherwise get had I not learned to focus, solve problems, and learn to serve others.

My Own Personal Experience and Observations

Do you think people like Oprah Winfrey or Anthony Robbins are in the position they are because they got lucky?  They touch many lives with their unique gifts and talents. And they spend time giving of themselves on a constant basis. Anthony Robbins and his charities feed countless people during Thanksgiving. Oprah developed a school program for young people.

I spent two years in Ireland in voluntary service (from age 19 – 21), which I paid for. I was not paid directly for my service. Indirectly, I am reaping the benefits of learning to work hard and serve others – even if it is many years after the fact. Who knows what ripples I created when I was a young man there and I do not need any financial reward to know I did wonderful things.

Join Like Minded Individuals

I recently discovered the Yakezie Oda – a like minded group of individuals with websites related to personal finance. I began observing their interaction with each other. From that observation, I noticed a need for a better way to manage the club and the Alexa rankings.

I knew I had the technical skill to pull it off. And I am so impressed with what I’ve seen from the members of it. That it was a simple matter for me to volunteer my time and energy to create a new, automated page to store their club and Alexa rankings that will ultimately save them time and energy.

What’s in it for me? Nothing – I do it freely. However, I do believe I have genuinely made some real friends in a short amount of time, and you cannot put a price on that at all. I promise any of you reading that if you solve the challenge that someone or a group is having with your unique talent, you will feel a sense of fulfillment. And increase your networking and friendship with those you help. 

But do it for fulfillment, for bettering and helping others, which in turn will strengthen the whole and not just yourself.

Conclusion On Giving

Find your own unique talents, gifts, abilities, and just get to know people. You will find so many ways to give to others, not just financially. Just listen and watch people. You will quickly discover the challenges they are facing. 

Use your unique talents and gifts to fill in the gaps for the challenges and difficulties of others. If you are really interested in wealth, this is the greatest way to generate it – a high valued solution to a number of people’s problems. 

Not only is giving fulfilling, but it increases your potential as a human being and solves real life problems. You just might find your life’s work while serving someone and have it be a means to provide for you financially for the rest of your life.

Further Reading

In addition, here are some additional articles for further reading.

The Best Of Financial Samurai eBook: In the summer of 2015, I published this 180 page ebook containing 35 of the best articles I've ever written over the past seven years to help readers achieve financial freedom sooner.

In addition, I'm donating all proceeds from my book to a charity to help inner city kids stay off the streets and stay in the class rooms. You can buy The Best Of Financial Samurai here for $9.88. Why not learn and give at the same time!

Related: The Amount Donated To Charity Can Improve

23 thoughts on “The Ripples Of Giving: Why Giving Time And Money Is Great”

  1. This is a wonderful, fantastically inspirational post. I’m going to try my best to give more than I have been lately. Tithing is something I’ve been meaning to do for quite a while now, but now I know that I really should be doing so. Great guest post.
    .-= Roger´s last blog ..Lessons from NCECA and My Family =-.

  2. savvysavingbytes

    One of my most stimulating volunteer efforts was in a one-on-one reading program for former prison inmates. Seeing life from my particular student’s point of view expanded my thinking in lots of areas. Ability to read is invaluable and it was very satisfying passing this on to others who really needed it.
    .-= savvysavingbytes´s last blog ..You get what you pay for…Baloney! =-.

  3. I have volunteered my time at a homeless shelter and found the experience very rewarding. It also opened my eyes to the plight of homeless people who are really just like you and me except that they don’t have a roof over their heads.

  4. HI….i think people can solve their problems and they can do their work more confidently some time for peace of mind and some with the price aside from everything we can use our thoughts to get better and better.

  5. Jeremy,
    Great post with a message we don’t hear often enough. Giving without expecting anything in return. It is hard for me to keep my motives 100% pure when I give, because even if I do so without any exterior motives, I always know that I will eventually, some day, some how, receive a positive payback, even if it is simply the satisfaction of knowing that I did the right thing.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not beating myself up. I am just saying there is a law of reciprocity: in the big picture, givers will always be blessed by their giving.

    Thanks again, and welcome to the Yakezie Challenge!
    .-= Joe Plemon´s last blog ..The New Health Care Bill: A Prescription for Diminished Health Care =-.

  6. Great post Jeremy and thank you so much for your contributions to the Yakezie. It really has been an amazing journey.

    I believe we often focus too much on the giving to charity etc… Not that we shouldn’t but that we have so many opportunities to give in our day to day lives. Provide some financial guidance to a coworker. Let a neighbor cry on your shoulder. Help the little old lady cross the street etc…

    My kids were taught young to hold doors open for others. Over the years they have commented several times about how people walk by and don’t even say “thank you.” While many don’t notice these small gestures of civility and friendship its all the other forms of giving to others that make the world a better place.
    .-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..What Sacrifices Are You Willing To Make? =-.

  7. Brandi Grays

    Jeremy, this is a great post. I am so glad that you talked about the power of giving. I believe that the more that you give the more that you receive. Giving of yourself in ways other than money can often build confidence, relationships, and your bank account.

    I cant wait to hear more from you.
    .-= Brandi Grays´s last blog ..Do You Meetup? =-.

  8. I agree that the art of giving causes a ripple effect. Giving comes in many forms like time, money, and service as mentioned by Jeremy. In The Science of Getting Rich, there is a chapter entitled The Impression of Increase. Wallace Wattles talks about leaving every person you come across better than when you found them. Even small things like smiling and telling your co-worker that she’s doing a great job is a form of giving.
    .-= Kristine´s last blog ..Term vs Whole Life Insurance – The Battle Begins =-.

  9. MyFinancialObjectives

    I really liked this article. This topic of giving is something I believe very strongly in. I currently tithe 10% of my income and routinely donate to charities whenever I hear about them. I also find an easy way to help was through donating to world vision for the recent Earthquakes in Hattie and Chile.

    I also liked how you stressed giving 10% of your time. I have heard that topic preached about before, but I honestly have not really practiced it too much.

    Finally I agree that giving without a doubt gives you a much better feeling than getting. It is for this reason that I completely overextended myself this last Christmas, going all out on friends and family, and I’m still paying for it. But what did I do it? I honestly love to make people happy! Despite the fact that I have a financial website, and am the go-to-guy on finance matter at work and home, I still managed to spend too much, I guess my heart is bigger than my brain!:)
    .-= MyFinancialObjectives´s last blog ..The Benefits of a Giveaway =-.

    1. MyFinancialObjectives

      Indeed! Though sometimes your brain may be flabbergasted at what your heart is doing, it’s totally worth it to see those smiles on Christmas Morning!!!
      .-= MyFinancialObjectives´s last blog ..Employer Contributions, Part 2 of 4: Why You NEED to Contribute to Your 401(k) =-.

  10. Hey Jeremy,

    Thanks for writing your article. I really enjoy this topic, as you may or may not know that almost all the revenue generated from this site goes to local charities here in the Bay Area.

    I was just wondering what are your thoughts regarding the following:

    1) How does one decide how much to give if they are currently in debt?

    2) If your debt is mangeable i.e. only have “good” debt, and cash flow is fine, how should one go about determining how much to give as a percentage of income, if that’s the right way?

    3) What are your thoughts on the Obama administration deciding to reduce the deduction percentage amount for high income earners who contribute the large majority to charities? Do you think it is fair that those paying the 35%, and next year 40% Federal tax rate no longer can deduct their donations at a 40% rate, but now at a proposed 28% rate while others can continue to deduct equally what they pay?

    4) Given the asymetric deduction levels, do you think charities will be punished as a result? If so, why do you think Obama wants to punish charities and people who give money to help others?

    5) Finally, how strongly do you believe in karma? And if you do believe in karma, is it possible to give without thinking about the potential good karma one may receive?


    .-= admin´s last blog ..The Best Financial Advice I’ve Ever Heard From A Comedian =-.

  11. I’ve heard charitynavigator is pretty good.
    The thing that a lot of people don’t get about giving is that if you’re in debt, you have the power to give more later than you can possibly give now, if you just pay it off first.

    As for me, I’m not a believer in karma (or most things. I’m largely an apathetic agnostic), and I haven’t much need to make myself feel good by feeling like I’ve made a difference in other human lives. I do give a bit to the Humane Society, however, because of the terrible things other humans do to animals. I feel species guilt.

  12. Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey

    Great article Jeremy!

    This makes me evaluate those gifts that I have and charge others for my service. Although, the scripture says a mans gift will make room for Him. It doesn’t mean he has to charge in the form of money.

    The man will possibly reap in other ways such as learning some of life’s greatest lessons along the journey of sharing his talents. This really opens up my mind of thinking in ways I can give back instead of get back. Thank you so much for sharing such a great article!!
    .-= Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey´s last blog ..You Know You’re Favored by God When… =-.

  13. Jake and I have made a decision to only contribute time/money to organizations that benefit animals. We don’t agree with the values of most charities that benefit people (exceptions being donating to particular politicians during campaign time and to support breast cancer/other disease research).
    .-= Honey´s last blog ..When I Act Dumb Chicks Want To Sleep With Me More =-.

  14. Really liked the post Jeremy.

    The biggest benefit I see when I give time, money, etc… is the relationships you form. Giving is a great way to meet like-minded people.
    .-= RJ Weiss´s last blog ..Learning from the Past | History of S&P 500 =-.

  15. Once I’m out of debt I plan to start giving. I’m currently giving my time away from my family to make a better future for them.

    I’m a excellent painter (houses, etc) I work with people who are involve with Habitat for Humanity and I would like to help them out on the weekends.

    I also have a unique ability to teach troubleshooting skills to other people. I would like to get involved with my local school system to help high school kids in vocational classes. In my senior year of high school I took a 4 hour Vocational class that help me become the Engineer I am now.

    Cool post Jeremy, Welcome to the crew!!
    .-= Jeff´s last blog ..Discipline Your Way Out Of Debt =-.

    1. I just realized I can’t type today “I’m believe” just doesn’t make much since now does it? I’ve subscribe to your rss feed and followed you on twitter. You’ll be on my Yakieze Blog Role in a few minutes. Hope you are enjoying your day.
      .-= Jeff´s last blog ..Discipline Your Way Out Of Debt =-.

  16. I think most bloggers give of themselves regularly. We sure aren’t in it for the money.

    JA is awesome! I work with them sometimes too. Which JA do you work with?
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Retirement Alphabet Soup: 401(k), Roth IRA – Where Should I Start? =-.

  17. I have teaching skills and I’m going to use them to teach money principles to school age children through Junior Achievement. I also use landscaping skills to help schools with planting stuff…making it look better. Good post.
    .-= Ken´s last blog ..Is Permanent Insurance Ever Beneficial? =-.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *