Wayne Vanwyck – You would think that over the years, Bill Gates would have billions of reasons to smile, but why is Bill Gates smiling now more than ever? Recent reports in Fortune Magazine say that the foundation that he shares with his former wife Melinda is receiving a $20 billion donation from their personal wealth. It also reports that he plans to give away the bulk of his $113 billion fortune. Giving feels good and makes one smile.
You may not be in a position to finance saving the human race, but any amount of giving makes a person feel good. As a participant in many annual food drives in my community I am amazed how often those who don’t have much tend to be more generous. And when they give, they do it with a smile. Perhaps they know what it’s like, living on little.
We Are Wired to Share
There are potential financial benefits or legacy reasons (the Gates didn’t call it The Disease Research Foundation) and if that’s what it takes to get someone to donate, fair enough. But the biggest benefit is the feeling you get. Giving is part of human DNA. Anthropologists suggest that we survived and thrived as a species because we learned to share. The hunter who came home with a caribou shared their bounty with the tribe. It became an unwritten rule.
Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are known for their kindness and generosity, even though they are the poorest province in the country. Perhaps because they are poor, they learned to look after their neighbours knowing that when the shoe was on the other foot, someone would help them, looking for nothing in return.
Many Ways to Give
When you sell your business, you’ll have something to share – money and time. There are many ways to give money and a discussion with your financial advisor will raise many options, including:
- A charitable trust.
- A life insurance policy that leverages your giving when you die.
- A one-time lump sum.
- A monthly amount – perhaps donating your CPP payments.
But you also have other valuable resources:
- Your time – you could sit on a charitable board or join a service club.
- Your contacts – you could be a resourceful fundraiser.
- Your experience – you could mentor or coach young entrepreneurs.
Giving triggers warm feelings. It brings smiles to both the giver and receiver. Who knows? It might even save the world.
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