the pursuit of wealth for the sake of others

I wanna hold your hand

There are a million books written on the subject of money-making – at least. Most people, if they are sensible, want to acquire wealth.  If you don’t want material goods for yourself or for your family, you probably would like to acquire wealth to benefit a charity or a cause.  If you don’t want to acquire wealth, you may be perfectly happy and content with your lot, but you’re probably not a typical person.  So be it.

I’ve often thought that one of the true benefits of being wealthy would not be just the ability to buy what I want, when I want it, but also to be charitable. I’ve struggled with charity throughout my life; I have given generously to some causes and withheld money for selfish reasons at other times.  One of the advantages to being wealthy – to me, at least – would be the ability to give without any concern for amounts or timing.

So I think about wealth as a means not to buy the latest Wii, but as something to improve lives. Mine, sure.  My family’s, of course.  My extended family’s, yep.  Friends, my neighborhood, uh-huh.  Even charities that benefit people who will barely register the fact that I helped.  Why not?  I won’t pretend that my first goal isn’t to make life as good as possible for me and mine, but I have hopes that someday I’ll be able to make a real impact on others – not just $25 a year to a charity’s administrative overhead spending.

Many people disparage the pursuit of the wealth as self-centered. “Greedy.”  “Materialistic.”  That may be.  But if you become truly wealthy, don’t you have a far greater ability to help those in need?  Shouldn’t every person who seeks to help others make their life’s pursuit the attainment of wealth?

How much wealth is necessary, or appropriate, or required is of course open for debate. I’ve often thought that no amount could be “too much.”  I can think of an almost endless list of charities I could give to after I’ve provided for myself and my family.  I would never think of getting rich as having been selfish; if you turn that wealth back around to the world at large, you could be far more effective than the preachiest poor guy on the planet.

I would never claim that I want money first for the benefit of others. I jealously want to provide for my family (and myself) first, and charity second.  But I would like to be wealthy; I would like to have the ability to give freely to worth causes.   Wealth is not just the route to the latest video game; it can also be the route to helping people who truly need that help.
photo credit: batega