By Jeff Pesta
People ask me sometimes: has giving to charity made you wealthy? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. I’ve definitely experienced spiritual wealth – the peace and joy of giving. But I’d also argue that physical wealth has come my way as well, in sometimes surprising and unexpected forms. Let me explain what I mean.
We’ve All Been There
Well, let’s start with the basics. Have you ever been in a bind? You know something that “happens to the other guy” but now happened to you?
A couple of years ago, my son found himself in this position. He was out for a bike ride and took the ferry from San Francisco to Angel Island for a bike ride. Everything was going well until he noticed his wallet had fallen out of his pocket and he didn’t have a return ticket.
He called me shortly thereafter, “Dad! What do I do?” I said meander over to the ticket booth, explain your situation, ask someone if they would be willing to buy you a ticket and tell them you’ll repay them as soon as you get to the ATM on the other side.
Now as you might imagine he was hesitant. But I reminded him that we as a family have often given to those in need, even on the street – that people are generous and he’ll be fine. In the end, he asked and was helped by the first person!
Now the real question is: why do I give so readily to people on the street and to organizations? And the simple answer is that if I were in the position of having to ask for assistance myself, I would find it humiliating and embarrassing and I would hope that someone would be generous with me as I’ve tried to be with others.
Here’s the other amazing thing that has happened as I embraced an abundance mentality. Not only did I have great spiritual moments and moments of sharing gratitude, but I personally have become wealthier.
When I give I do it out of a notion of abundance. In other words, I focus on the fact that right now at this moment I have the ability. Then, strangely enough, money has a habit of falling into my lap.
Here is what I mean. One day I was at a lunch for Christians in business in the area. The speaker was the president of a well-known ice cream company. His testimony was so compelling that I put the last $20 I had into the hat they passed around to help the needy. Now, at the time I was straight commission I had no other money. I did have half a tank of gas, it was Tuesday and I’d probably make it to Friday so in went the twenty.
After lunch, I went to my car and made a follow-up call to a client. It was about a one-in-three chance that anything good would happen and this case had already been in the works for months. But my client had a sudden change of heart. She made an appointment to write the business life insurance policy I’d suggested. The commission was enough to cover half of that month’s living expenses.
How Life Works Best
I can tell many amazing experiences that I’ve had in giving to random strangers on the street. And that is the place to start giving if you’re not in the habit because you can witness true joy.
Financially my life changed dramatically when I started writing checks for five and ten thousand dollars at a time to causes I believe in. It’s both scary and exhilarating in the same moment.
And by the way, I do not want any reader to be offended because I mentioned income or amounts that my wife Lisa and I have given in the past. They are not big numbers either way and I sure many of you reading this make more and give more. This article is intended for the person who is new to giving. I put the numbers in so it would be relevant and so that one could gage what they are current giving. I have been challenged by people who have achieved more than I have and when I see good things I try to replicate it. By putting in real numbers I hope it has helped to make this challenging and real for you.
I highly recommend changing your mentality from the dread of giving to the joy of abundance – it’s just how life works best.
At Pesta & Pesta we believe generosity is integral to any financial plan. Are you looking to create or clarify your financial plan for you and your family? Our advisors can talk this through with you and help you match your portfolio with your goals, even your dreams.