Could You Use Your Wealth to Change the World?
I mentioned a while back some of the things I would hate about being filthy rich. Some of our readers felt that I was taking too flippant a view of rich people and perhaps they were right.
With this in mind, I decided to write a post about how being extremely rich could be a good thing. After all, if money was no object then you could use your wealth to change the world for the better. For instance, you could set up a charity foundation. Some of the richest philanthropists in history have helped to make the world a better place by doing exactly this.
Then I thought to myself, hold on a second. It’s all very well talking about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Michael Jackson’s Heal the World Foundation but how relevant is that to most of us? Sure, if I ever have a few billion in my bank you can bet that I will set up a foundation and give away plenty of cash.
However, what if we turn the subject around and consider how we could use our current wealth to help improve the world? We might not be as rich as Bill Gates is or Michael Jackson was but many of us are still in a position to do a little bit to help out others who are a lot worse off.
Support Your Favorite Charities
Sometimes the problems in the world seem too big for us to even start to solve them. I get depressed watching the news some nights and seeing wars, disease, famine and all sorts of other problems appear on the screen. Yet there is something we can do to help. By choosing to support a charity we trust we can make sure that we do a little bit to improve the world. If you don’t think you can afford to do this then what about cutting out one treat from your month and donating the money you have saved?
Think About Lending to People Around the World
I only recently discovered that sites like Kiva, Zidisha and United Prosperity even exist. If you haven’t come across them before then it is a brilliant idea. Simply put, someone who needs a small loan seeks crowdfunding from people over the internet. In the case of Kiva, you lend them $25 and when it gets repaid you can then lend it to someone else. A quick look at the site will show you how even a relatively small amount of cash like $1000 can really make a difference to someone’s life. For example, there are lots of people in Latin America, Asia and Africa who need a small loan to stock their shop or to start up a business to make some money. It is kind of heart-breaking to read some of the stories and see how desperate some people are for the chance to make their business work. You will get a great feeling from helping them out and will help them try to make a success of their lives.
So, What’s In It for Me?
If you are going to donate or lend money then there has to be something in it for you. That might sound heartless but it is reasonable to suggest that if you get a benefit from it then you are more likely to keep on doing it. So how about looking at the people you help out and realizing how lucky you are? I might not be filthy rich but once I had read about those people desperately in need of small loans I felt as though my financial situation was actually a lot better than I had previously imagined and felt grateful for what I have.
In what other ways can we use our wealth to change the world?