Financial Abundance and Philanthropy
I have a philosophy about people:
This belief does not preclude me from doing kind things for friends, family, and the occasional stranger. What it does preclude me from doing is dedicating a significant amount of time, money, and effort into helping people when I am on the quest to financial independence and monetary abundance.
Look at a dude like Bill Gates. You think he spent his hard earned dollars and valuable time helping strangers and donating what little he had when he was building Apple and Microsoft in his garage with the other college dropout superstars? I don't, although I can't be certain without speaking to him. What he did do is start the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation when he started making like, a gazillion dollars a year. In the year 2000, which is when the foundation was founded, Gates' net worth floated somewhere around 69 billion dollars. It is worth noting that the company was in a downturn and he was valued in excess of 100 billion shortly before this time. (1)
I should mention that nearly every billionaire has some kind of foundation, and I must also imagine that any financial adviser worth their salt would encourage extremely wealthy people to form one for several reasons:
1.) It's good PR
2.) It helps avoid and minimize taxes.
So long as you justify your expenditures, you can do all kinds of crazy things under a foundation that is essentially tax free. R&D for a new product that helps educate kids in rural India? Nothing to see here but good intentions, Mr. IRS!
It's anyone's guess whether Bill Gates had intended to start such a foundation even when he was young or if he decided "Hey, I currently have more money than every Saudi King combined, that are the heirs to lineages that predate Jesus himself, maybe I should do something philanthropic with all of this money that I could never hope to spend on my own." Either way, the guy is the living philosophy of what I myself have decided to embrace. Of course I want to live in a better world, where people are more kind to one another, less religious groups killing one another and civilians alike, the list could go on and on. I only intend to do this once I've made it big. My focus is on producing the most wealth I can in my youth, and the intention is that will open many a plethora of possibilities to be more giving with my money in the future.
Ultimately, by the time you have enough money to make a real impact on the people that you're using it on, you won't notice that it's being spent. Your quality of life would probably change 0% if you made 10 million dollars a year and decided to donate half of it.
I also realize that money is the manifestation of the work of a man, and the worldly embodiment and representation of the ideas he has imposed on the world and helped people with. It's not evil. It's a tool. And much like a tool, it can be used in good and bad ways. A wrench can be used to fix a project car with your teenage son. It can also be used to beat people. Money is the same way. The more you have of it, the easier it is to impose your will upon the world, whether that will is good or bad. Objectively, there is nothing wrong with being selfish with money that you have earned. I encourage everyone to go out and spend it exactly how they want and reject anything that says you need to give a handout to anyone.
Should you choose to help others, there is a good chance you will find more fulfillment than spending frivolously on selfish means, but I'm not one to judge.
Choose your wealth threshold where you decide you can impact a massive quantity of people in a good way. Start something yourself when you have the time and money to do so (like a charitable foundation). Not only can you employ people in the non profit, but you can minimize the administrative waste and have direct oversight into how much of each dollar donated or raised goes to effect the lives of people and communities you are helping.
When I hit my threshold, which I'm going to say right now is a two million net worth, I will begin dedicating most significantly my time and money to such a pursuit. Until then, I'll be working my way up.
We all live in the same world, and the pale blue dot has no borders from space.
Oh, and happy tax day, readers!