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Brad Tinnon

The Gift of Giving

In Spiderman, Peter Parker is told by his Uncle Ben that “with great power comes great responsibility”. To parallel with finance, I’d like to modify this to say “with great wealth comes great responsibility”.

According to Gallap, the median worldwide household income is approximately $10,000 per year. In the poorest countries of the world, the median household income is under $2,000 per year.

By contrast, the median household income in the U.S. is just under $45,000 per year, more than 4x that of the world and more than 22x that of the poorest countries.

The reality is that most of us in America are wealthy compared to the world. In fact, I would say that we have great wealth compared to the world, which leads to great responsibility.

In America it is very tempting to have the mindset of “if only I had a little bit more”, “if I could just get ahead”, “if I could just get that promotion”. I want to let you in on a little secret – it’s a lie! We will never be satisfied with more because we will always be chasing more.

According to a World Population Review article, the World Health Organization estimates that the U.S. ranks 2nd in the world regarding the percentage of people who are depressed. Approximately 6% of the population experiences some form of depression. It may even be much larger than this considering that anecdotally it seems like there are a tremendous amount of people who struggle with worry, anxiety, and depression. You wouldn’t think this would be the case considering that we live in the land of opportunity.

I don’t know exactly why this is, but I think it’s safe to say that possessions, money, and opportunity do not make us more happy or satisfied. Ironically, the countries with the least amount of depression are smaller, lower-income countries.

If more money doesn’t provide satisfaction then we have to consider the possibility that there is joy in giving! Science even backs this up.

According to Rush University Medical Center, a study was done on people who donated to charities. The researchers performed MRI scans that showed that the part of the brain that controls feelings of reward and pleasure lit up when donations were made!

Further, the research revealed that people who give experience a greater level of self-esteem, satisfaction, mental health, and physical health along with a lower level of depression.

If this is true, then we must learn to be content with what we have and curb the mindset of keeping everything for ourselves.

As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we have a responsibility to feed the world. A responsibility to help those in poverty. A responsibility to help your neighbor. A responsibility to correct injustices. A responsibility to make a lasting difference in this world.

But we first have to get out of our own way and trust that we truly do have enough!

I challenge us all to think of others more highly than we think of ourselves. Don’t be afraid to give of your time and resources to help others.

It truly is better to give than receive!

Brad Tinnon
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™

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