Perhaps you read the 25th installment of Forbes annual 400 Richest American’s List. In case you missed it, here’s an update. For the fifth consecutive year, the rich got richer. In their 25th annual edition of The Forbes 400, the collective net worth of the nations wealthiest climbed from $120 billion to $1.25 trillion. A trillion dollars! I am really not sure how many zeros that is. Also notable, forbes for the first time ever, everyone on the list is a billionaire. That’s with a B!
In fairness to Forbes, some of the people they profile are wonderfully generous. They give incredible amounts of money away. I even read recently that Bill Gates said he wishes he wasn’t the richness man in America. Provided it wasn’t some urban legend, you could even write him and plead your case for financial help. So I went to Seattle to plead my case to Mr. Gates (actually, I just hoped I’d bump into him on a recent business trip there). While in Seattle, I met a guy who sold his internet company for well over 100 million dollars. He told me he really hated being rich. “The day I became rich, dani-info people around me changed,” he said. “I was still the same person but now everyone wanted a piece of me. I had ‘relatives and friends’ coming out of the woodwork”. He gave most of the money away to literacy programs noting that if you can’t read, you have no future. He said it’s so much more enjoyable to be a “regular guy”.
The week after Forbes released their list, meilleurscasino I scanned the business magazines’ cover stories. Here’s what I saw on the covers as I quickly scanned them: two had Retire Rich! one featured Young Millionaires, another mentioned How Poor Nations Became Rich. Then as I walked out of the store I saw a book title Why We Want You to Be Rich. That was just a quick scan. If you type in How to get Rich in Google, you’ll get about 240 million responses. Compare that with stories of people creating richness by investing in the lives of others. With the exception of one story in a column entitled “Do-Gooding”, the business publications I scanned seem intent to focus on how good (or rich) you could be, not on what good you could do. And Forbes and other publications only further perpetuate it.
So, if you really want to be rich, richer than most on the Forbes list, trying giving. It cost nothing and produces the biggest return on investment ever measured. Here are some thoughts:
1. Inventory Your Interests – Matching your hobby or interests to a need, may fulfill a passion you already have though often experiencing something totally new will create a new interest. Whatever your interest, there is a need.
2. Find a Cause – When you start looking (and sometimes when you’re NOT looking) you’ll see, read, or hear about something that will stir your soul. If you have a bent toward complaining about how bad things are in (fill in the blank with a place in the world or your community), why not use the complaining energy volunteering in that area.
3. Start Close to Home – While I admire and respect the great work many are doing in all corners of the globe, there’s a lot to do in our back yard. Call your local United Way, church or synagogue, or a community outreach organization. You don’t have to travel far, to have far reaching impact.
4. Leverage Your Knowledge – Do you like computers? Photography? Web work? Sewing? Horticulture? Music? Some organization needs what you have.
5. Involve Your Friends and Family – If you have used age of children, size of family, or lack of time with friends as an excuse, participate in a volunteer project together.
6. Actions produce more richness than donations – Here’s some proof:
Ken Behring made a ton of money in his life. He also gave away a lot. But it wasn’t until he gave of himself that it made all the difference in the world (literally).