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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Warren Buffett

    Get It To Give It

    The vast majority of people are working to get more money. With the state of the economy, the amount of debt at a national and individual level, mortgage/rent payments, car loans, school tuition, medical bills, food, credit card debt, and the desire to “keep up with the Joneses”, it all contributes to a need to get more money.  Ask someone what they would do if they were given a million dollars and they would generally give you a long list of bills to pay off, goals to save for, or things to buy for themselves or their family members. Whether your net worth is a negative number (with lots of digits) or a positive number (with lots of digits), almost everyone is working to get more money.


    So that’s the 99% of us.  What would the 1% do? Or maybe it’s the .0001%?

    The October 8, 2012 issue of Forbes profiled the 400 richest people in America, worth anywhere from $1.1 billion (a three way tie between Dan Snyder, Paul Singer, and Denise York) to $66 billion (Bill Gates). I was admittedly fascinated with the diverse sources of their wealth, along with their personal stories, because the focus of many of the articles was their philanthropy. Rather than just watch their wealth increase, they were using their money to make a positive impact on society and the world. 

    Treasure Chest with Gold Light Exuding From ItFor example, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was established in 2000 as a continuation of Bill’s philanthropic efforts started in 1994, and their goal is to spend all their money in the foundation within 25 years of their demise. Warren Buffett gave approximately $31 billion to their foundation in 2006 with the stipulation that it be spent within 10 years of his death. And hopefully you’ve heard of the Giving Pledge started by Warren Buffett and the Gateses. Since June 2010, over 90 billionaires have signed the Pledge to give away half of their fortune to the charities of their choice by the time of their death.  But Chuck Feeney is a role model. Feeney used to be on the Forbes 400 (although it was later found to be an error), because though he has earned $7.5 billion over his lifetime, he’s given so much away that he only has about $2 million left.


    Secret Giver

    Feeney, now 81, made his fortune by founding the Duty Free Shoppers almost three decades ago. But rather than just amass his fortune, he secretly transferred his ownership stake into the Atlantic Philanthropies. While Forbes Magazine thought he was a billionaire, he instead had given his assets to his charity. Feeney has given to charitable causes on five continents, often anonymously.  Charities have to compete for the money and present a plan of action with objectives to be met. If they fail to meet those objectives, their funding is in jeopardy. He frequently requires that his giving be matched by other wealthy people, local governments, or charities.  He focuses on getting the highest value for his donations, and hates waste of all types. Feeney did much of this in secret, seeking anonymity and shunning the spotlight. Only in recent years has he allowed a biography to be written, and permitted others to understand what he’s trying to accomplish. His philosophy is “Don’t wait to give your money away when you’re old, or even worse, dead. Instead, make substantial donations while you still have the energy, connections and influence to make waves.” Click here to read the article.)  

    Feeney and a number of other billionaires profiled in the magazine feel that giving is a duty and an obligation. David Rubenstein (private equity billionaire) summed it up with the following.

    “How much can you give to your children before you completely spoil and ruin them? Very few people who inherit gigantic sums have gone on to change the world for the better.  Generally the people who’ve changed the world for the better are people who made it on their own and ultimately didn’t want to just distribute wealth to somebody else. If you can give away as much money as you can while you’re alive, you’ll realize the benefits that I just mentioned. You’ll feel much better about yourself—and your children will feel much better about you.”(Click here to read the article.)

     Your Turn to Give

    So right now, though you may be in awe of Feeney and others, you (like me) probably can’t relate to them because you haven’t yet made your first billion dollars. Well maybe there’s something else you have to give to others…something you have a knack for attracting or acquiring in abundance that has little value when hoarded for yourself; something that causes others to look upon you with respect and amazement; something that was earned through hard work and focusing on your passion. This “thing” will be different for everyone, but generally encompasses your time, talents or treasures. These are the most valuable of your assets, often intangible but observable in the results they produce.

    The question is whether you gather it merely for your own value so that others can note your accumulation of it; or whether you gather it to benefit others. You see, we all can be billionaires in some way, just by having an abundance of something valuable that others would desire to have. Just as the billionaires in this edition of Forbes have developed their various passions to accumulate wealth, so those of us in a lesser financial situation can pursue our passions for the benefit of others.  We can “get it to give it”. 

    So no need to wait until to accumulate your first billion. Start now to make a difference in the lives of those around you.

    The Gift That Keeps On Giving

    What do you give the person who seems to have everything? You give something that costs you little.

    What do you give the person who seems to have nothing? You give something that costs you much.

    That’s what Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, and 65 other billionaires have decided to do. They’ve pledged to give half of their net worth to philanthropy.In June 2010, Buffet and Gates started the Giving Pledge where they challenge billionaires across the world to sign a pledge committing to give half of their money to charity during their lifetime. For Buffett, this focus on giving started when he was in his 20s studying wealthy industrialists such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J. P. Morgan, and their prolific giving to science, arts and culture. (See Wall Street Journal article for more info.) Now that Buffett has long been established as a billionaire, he is doing the same. He and others are using their wealth to make a difference in every area of life across the world.They are leveraging the fruit of their talents to impact the world.They’ve realized that after a certain point, wealth and riches mean nothing if you can’t use it to help others who may be less fortunate.


    Buffett and Gates’ initiative is admirable because they’ve made it a priority to lead others in giving. Specifically, they established themselves as ACEs, and you can do the same.

    Accountability – They challenged other billionaires to be accountable to each other on how they use their wealth. You can identify others who, like you, have an abundance of resources. This shouldn’t be hard, because like attracts like. The people who are your closest friends, with whom you have the most in common, probably have similar resources. Challenge them, hold them accountable to use those resources to make a difference in the lives of others who are less fortunate.

    Change – They believe that their wealth can create change for the good. What unfortunate situations seem to pierce your heart the most?  Is it poverty, sickness, children who lack the benefit of music, art or sports in their educational system? These issues weigh on your spirit for a reason; so that you can do something to make a difference in that arena, using your resources to bring about change.

    Expectation – They created an expectation that their giving makes a difference in the future of others. You too can expect that your gift will change the lives and environment of others. You can create your own self-fulfilling prophecy that you expect good results from your investment.

    Since very few of us are billionaires, does that mean that we can’t have an impact in the world?  Does that mean that we can’t use our comparably limited assets to help others?  We each have an abundance of resources in the form of our time, our talent or our treasures which we can give freely to others.

    • Our time represents what we value most.  Take a look at how a man or woman spends their time each day, and you’ll know what’s most important to them.
    • Our talent represents the abilities, skills and knowledge we possess that we can share with others. Freely sharing our talent will reduce expenses and costs to others.
    • Our treasure represents financial resources that we’ve earned or inherited that can fund the good works of others.

    One person’s time, another’s talent, and yet another’s treasures all working together are essential to improve the lives of people on every continent. So don’t wait for the government or someone else to allocate resources to a problem, or to make it a priority. Determine how you can make a difference. Determine how you can lead others to give extraordinary things in extraordinary ways.

    “We have a choice. We can make our kids billionaires and it will ruin them. Or we can realize how blessed we are and try to spread those blessings around. My view has always been that success unshared is failure.”John Paul DeJoria, founder of the Paul Mitchell hair-products empire who grew up homeless. (The Biggest Gift In The World, WSJ Magazine, November 2011, p. 104)

    “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”(2 Corinthians 9:6-8) King James Study Bible

    Copyright 2011 Priscilla Archangel

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