2019 has been Bare Wealth Advisors’ Year of Generosity. We find it helpful to create a theme each year to help us be more intentional in a certain area of our financial lives. Without intentionality in our lives we are prone to coast along with life reacting to life events and circumstances. This is true in our financial lives as much as in any area of life. As we wrap up another year, I thought it would be good to make one last effort to emphasize the importance of generosity in our lives and in the lives of others around the world.
In 2 Corinthians 8:7, the Apostle Paul tells us to excel in our acts of giving – similar to how we would want to excel in other areas of life such as our knowledge, speech, faith etc. If you are alive more than 12 years, you probably know that to excel or get better in something you need to work at it and plan for it to actually improve. Think of a professional athlete such as Michael Jordan-the best basketball player ever to play the game (sorry, Lebron James fans). Although he was naturally gifted as an athlete and basketball player, he was also the one that put in the most hours a day practicing and mastering his game. The same is true for financial management as well as our generosity. We may be naturally generous, having a desire to help other people. However, with unlimited options on how we spend our time and money, we are often pulled away from using our resources for others in efforts to “better” our own lives resulting in more things or time commitments.
The only way to improve or excel in our effort to live a generous life is to plan, set goals, and take steps towards generosity. Begin by asking yourself: “What does generosity look like for me considering what I have been given?” The Bible tells us that to whom much is given, much is expected. This means we have a great responsibility with what we manage. Many in America have been given much and, we are the most generous nation in the world by many statistics. However, a deeper look into this says we have room for improvement. The average American gives about 2% of their income. While this is slightly better at 2.6% for someone who regularly attends a weekly worship service, it still falls short in many ways considering the wealth we have in our possession. During the Great Depression, average giving percentage was 3.5% of income, despite extremely difficult times. There are many studies that show as our income increases, we give a lower percent of our income to help other people. Why?
Perhaps because we do not think about being intentional or how we can improve in this area like we do areas such as fitness, our jobs, parenting, etc. Why not set giving or generosity goals each year that push us forward from the prior year? Think about giving a bit more to help others or possibly one percent more of your income than the prior year. Think about how we can use our time to help those in need around us such as volunteering an hour more per week so we can physically help someone in a tough situation. A good exercise is near the end of the year pull out your calendar and your checkbook (or online account) and reflect on how you spent your time and money in 2019, does it align with what you most value in life? If not, set some goals in both areas to be more generous and others focused in 2020.
I read recently that if the average church attender gave 10% of their income (a tithe or tenth is often taught in the Scriptures) there would be additional resources to solve problems such as: world hunger, deaths from preventable diseases, the world’s clean water and sanitation concerns, all world mission efforts would be funded, and all illiteracy concerns would be solved. Not only would these problems be solved but there would also be $100 billion left over to fund local needs in our communities. With this in mind, I could argue that if we all pushed forward with more generosity, we could drastically improve the lives of people around the world! In addition, when we take part in generous acts there is a supernatural joy and fulfillment that comes that cannot be matched by any earthly possessions.
To wrap up Bare Wealth Advisors. Year of Generosity, let me encourage and invite you to take part of generous acts of service in 2020 and beyond. Together we can move the needle of generosity from where we are today to where we can leave a legacy well beyond what we can imagine if we are intentional in this area of our lives. After 23 years of working with families such as yours in the area of financial management and decision making, I can honestly say I have NEVER met an unhappy generous person.