When it comes to personal finance, it’s easy to be a bit self-centered. We ask questions like: How much can I save? How can I make more money? How much do I need to retire? We spend a lot of time focusing on fixing our own problems. Now I’m not here to knock personal responsibility and taking care of your family. I value those things.
Today, though, at least for a moment, I challenge you to look past yourself. How can your wealth accumulation (income minus expenses) help others? I’ve got a few ideas below. Contribute your own in the comments below.
Provide a Small Business Loan – One of the absolute coolest tools on the Internet is Kiva.org. Kiva is a social lending (i.e. peer lending) site that only deals with interest-free loans. Small business owners around the globe in need of a few dollars to grow a business idea can receive a loan from you, facilitated by the Kiva program. You get your money back, and someone somewhere is creating a better life for themselves.
Donate to a Human Need – We are blessed here in the US with our standard of living. Others around the globe aren’t so fortunate. You know this. Drill down into the charity of your choice with a visit to CharityNavigator.org.
Give an Extra Tithe – If you have extra funds, consider an extra tithe to your Church. No one said you couldn’t give more than 10%. Be sure to consider a special designation of the funds if you want to support a particular project (i.e. mission trip).
Invest in a Child’s Education – I love this. Help someone afford college. Set up a 529 college savings plan or contribute to one already open. This is a tax-advantaged account that help to ensure the funds will be used on educational expenses. Start a 529 with a free $25 bonus.
Give an Unexpected Gift – Surprise a family member or friend with a gift. Give something consumable like a restaurant gift card or a plane ticket. Take them somewhere they would never think to go on their own, and give them an experience they could never afford themselves.
Photo by Mr. Kris