Giving is inspiring. When you see people around you being super generous, you want to join in, right? People who give back are not only the happiest people on the planet, but they also truly live more fulfilling lives. If you’ve ever wondered how you can be one of them, keep reading.
Why Is Giving Back Important?
When I talk about money, it’s not uncommon for people to get a little disinterested when I start talking about giving back. The plan for paying off debt, budgeting, and building wealth makes sense—until I say that giving is equally important. Then I get a head tilt. I mean, why on earth would you work so hard to accumulate wealth if you’re just going to turn around and give some of it away?
Here’s why. In all my years of living and breathing personal finance, I’ve found this to always be true: Real financial peace doesn’t happen until you give back.
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If you hold everything with a closed fist, believing a bigger bank account will protect you from trouble, you’ll never know rest. It will never be enough. But when you give generously, you learn that financial security doesn’t come from acquiring dollars and things. True financial peace is about the freedom to live and give like no one else.
The Benefits of Giving Back
Please hear my heart on this: I don’t think you’re a bad person if you haven’t been giving. What I want you to understand is that we all have choices in how we spend our money, and giving isn’t only a good choice for the recipient—it’s even better for you!
People who give are generally happier and less stressed because giving actually releases oxytocin in your brain.
“It’s better to give than to receive” isn’t just a nice thought for the holidays—it’s actually in the Bible too (Acts 20:35). And—go figure— it turns out Jesus knows what He’s talking about.
For more than 25 years, my dad, Dave Ramsey, has grown his business to be the biggest and best place to come for help with your money. Ramsey Solutions has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Nashville 11 times. He’s in the National Radio Hall of Fame. He’s sold millions of books. He owns a bunch of cool cars. And he can vacation pretty much anywhere he wants. But you know what moment he dreamed of his whole life—that means more to him than all of that?
Giving away one million dollars in a single day.
You can read all about it in his words, but I’ll tell you the short version. For Christmas last year, he gathered our Ramsey Solutions team, our pastor and his wife, and house parents from a local children’s home who serve orphans and foster kids. He gave each of them $1,000 cash for a shopping spree! There wasn’t a dry eye or empty heart in the building.
After all his successes (and failures), he said there’s still nothing like the feeling you get when you give back. Generosity never disappoints.
I’m not sure about you, but I can’t give away that much money right now. However, I can still make a difference in the life of someone else—and in my own life—by giving back today. And you can too! Let’s talk about how to get started.
5 Ways to Give Back
There are many different ways you can practice giving to others. But no matter what other ways you choose to give, I recommend giving 10% of your income. We need to be intentional with our giving, just like we are with any area we want to succeed in.
Here are the five main ways you can give:
1. Give your money to an organization.
Giving is the most fun you can have with money. I personally give 10% to my church before I give to any other organizations. But the key is to just give somewhere.
Every year when I sit down and look at how my money was used in the organizations I give to, my faith in humanity is completely restored. The number of nonprofits that are making a difference in the lives of people who really need it is tremendous. If you want to help anyone, in any part of the world—no matter how unique—there’s a charity out there you can give to.
2. Give your money to an individual or family.
Over the years, I’ve heard so many stories that make me emotional about how generosity has directly impacted someone’s life. It’s the best! I heard a story from a woman about how, one year in particular, her parents were really struggling when she was a kid. And one day they found $500 taped to their front door anonymously. It’s truly life-changing to receive money during moments of real need. In the clip below, I’ll share a story about the first time I remember realizing that as a kid.
3. Give your time.
Giving to others using your time is an area where you can really get creative. My friend Amanda came over and cleaned my entire house when my first baby was born. I told her I didn’t need it, but she insisted, and I’m forever grateful. There were also friends who came to hold the baby so I could get a quick nap in. Do you think I’ll ever forget who those people were? No way!
4. Give your talent.
Carl W. Buehner said, “They may forget what you said—but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Giving of your talents is a great way to make people feel special, and even worthy. I know a makeup artist who gives free makeovers to women at our local homeless shelter. That small act completely changes these women. I’ve also heard about a dentist who gave away free dental care for an entire day to people in his community who couldn’t otherwise afford it. What talents do you have that would make someone feel better about themselves?
5. Give your possessions.
You know what can really change someone’s life? A free car. There’s a reason Oprah’s car giveaway is the most memorable, most quoted moment of her career . . . and maybe even television history.
The Challenge of Giving to Others
So, how can you challenge yourself to be more selfless and giving to others? Spend some time focusing on how you can bless others this week. If you need help with that, I created a tool that helps me become more others-focused time and time again: The Contentment Journal. The Contentment Journal will help you think of others more and of yourself a little less.
I promise, no amount of money can replace the feeling you get from seeing a life affected by your generosity.
The Contentment Journal will help you think of others more and of yourself a little less.
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About Rachel Cruze
As a #1 New York Times bestselling author and host of The Rachel Cruze Show, Rachel Cruze helps Americans take control of their money and create a life they love.
She’s authored three bestselling books, including Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey. You can follow Rachel on Twitter and Instagram and online at rachelcruze.com, youtube.com/rachelcruze or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.