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Financial Planning Can Include Giving Back

Financial planning? It’s work — the kind that can send you to the shoe store.”

That was the Courier-Journal paraphrasing part of a talk that finance expert and author Jean Chatzky gave at a luncheon aimed at women earlier this fall. Chatzky spoke of how you can look to others as examples for how to handle your own financial life and suggested that a financial planner can help.

While she referenced the idea that the challenging parts of life can make you seek comfort in the form of shoe shopping, Chatzky had an interesting approach to working against the desire to spend:

“Chatzky encouraged her audience to give back, saying people who put others first are happier, healthier and have gratitude. And gratitude, she said, is the antidote to materialism.”

Some of us may find that we want less when we realize just how much we already have and find ways to help others using our resources. When your motivation to have more and be more is rooted in having more to give, you feel differently than when you are motivated to get more just to have more.

Giving back can come in many forms. At this time of year, people tend to think about tax-deductible charitable donations, canned food drives, and helping out at local shelters. But there are many ways to give back all year round:

  • Tutor/mentor students
  • Donate hours of your professional expertise to an individual or non-profit
  • Find a way to turn a hobby into a giving opportunity–knit for charity, bake cookies for deployed troops. If you can’t bake you can still join in efforts to put together care packages for soldiers?
  • Donate old but still usable building materials to Habitat for Humanity
  • Donate the freebies you get from work or conferences
  • Federal employees can donate vacation time to ailing colleagues
  • Give a neighbor/friend a hand–offer to help with gardening, agree to babysit, help paint