Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. All investments we make where we expect to see a good return on investment. But what if I told you there is something you can spend your money on that will give you an even better ROI and that the ROI is guaranteed? You’d probably jump on it right away, right?
But the investment I am talking about is something a little different. You won’t earn interest, you probably won’t make any money at all, and in fact it will most likely cost you money. You’re probably thinking “Okay Olivia you’ve lost me”. With this investment, your ROI is knowing that you used your resources to do something good. What I’m talking about is an investment in generosity. With thanksgiving just around the corner, I couldn’t think of a better topic to write about.
Did you know that 1 in 7 people in Canada, 45 million Americans, and nearly half the world’s population live in poverty? More than 3 billion people worldwide live on less than $2.50/day and more than 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.25/day. 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat. Do you make at least $35,000 a year? If the answer is yes than you are part of the world’s 1% global elite.
Remember that line in spider man “with great power, comes great responsibility”? Well if you are part of the global elite you have a great power, which is financial means. And the responsibility is generosity. I’m not saying that you need to give to every charity that comes knocking on your door, but I do believe that generosity should be an important part of our financial lives. In fact, a new study published found that being generous can lead to increased happiness. Scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging to look into the brain mechanisms that linked generous behaviour with increased happiness. They discovered that generous decisions activated an area of the brain linked to happiness and the reward cycle. And besides increasing happiness, being generous has shown to reduce stress, support physical health, enhance sense of purpose, naturally fight depression, and finally it has also shown to increase one’s life span. Now that’s ROI! And if you are sitting here thinking “nah, I don’t buy it”, think back to a time when you made a purchase for yourself that has caused guilt or regret. We have all had those moments. Now think back to a time when you were generous with someone else. How did it make you feel? Chances are you didn’t feel guilty, but rather you felt amazing afterwards.
With thanksgiving 1 week away challenge yourself on how you can be more generous. There are hundreds of organizations that could use your financial support, especially the food bank! Perhaps this is the perfect time to sponsor a child? Next time you’re in the drive thru consider paying for the coffee for the guy behind you. You can also be generous with your time. Volunteering your time can make a huge impact in the lives of others.
I will finish with this thought provoking quote by John Bunyan
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”