Are you giving to little, too much, or just the right amount of money? When your income goes up or you get a bonus or inheritance…how much should that change your giving? Should your giving be a percentage, a dollar amount, or something else? Should giving look different if you can’t pay your bills, living paycheck to paycheck, living on a fixed income, wealthy, etc.? Let’s dig into this heavily debated topic now!
From my experience in talking with people about their money, people want to be generous. They just don’t know how. This fits most people no matter where they are in their finances. I believe it’s fare to say that everyone would like to be generous with money. So, let’s start there. Let’s assume you choose to be a generous person. That being said, how does a generous person approach generosity? Well, I’m glad you asked! A generous person approaches money from a mindset of infinite, open handed generosity. So money does not begin and it does not end. You are merely a vessel through which money flows. That means that money comes to you and money goes from you, you are just the steward of it. You do not own the money and the money does not own you.
If you are not able to pay your bills, and you are a generous person, then you should reach out to me first. I am happy to help or point you to resources that can help you get to a point where you have the financial capacity to give. Until you can take care of your own household, you should not give. This should be a very, very temporary state though for you.
For those that live paycheck to paycheck or on a fixed income, my encouragement is to assess your budget. Go back to the budgeting series and assess where you are financially. I believe you can make room for giving at this stage. Likely, you can give more generously than you imagined. For me, this place is where you can most likely reveal where you truly are financially and the fact you begin giving will quickly open your world. It did for me.
When you are wealthy, there is an amazing opportunity available to you to choose to be a generous person. It takes a lot of money to do certain things in our world. Just imagine the lives you could change. At this stage financially, the impacts can be profound.
At all of these stages, the question is often how much you should literally give. I cannot answer that question for you specifically given your circumstances. I can say that the level of giving you choose should be to a point that causes you to assess whether it is sane. Giving should not put you in a position where you cannot provide for your household or pay your bills. However, if you can pay your bills then let’s assess together. Simply stated, if you aren’t giving then please begin to give. For me, giving 10% of my gross income was a good start. The cheerful giver knows that giving is not comfortable so will give to a point they feel a difference in their world, no matter the dollar amount or percentage. I believe it is best to set either a percentage or dollar goal for giving for each year and also your lifetime.