Several months ago a good friend asked me an important question1The following is paraphrased : What’s the point of trying to reach financial independence? It’s not like you can take your huge stash of cash with you when you die, so why live below your means while amassing a fortune instead of just spending money like everybody else? What are you going to do with it in the end, if not spend it?
A really nice article came out earlier this month in The New York Times about a former New York secretary named Sylvia Bloom. Ms Bloom worked for 67 years at the same firm while quietly amassing a fortune (even her closest friends didn’t know about it) by doing common sense things like using public transportation, not spending all her money on junk, and investing in the stock market. She died in 2016 and, just as my friend predicted, she did not take her fortune with her. Instead, she donated over EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS to charity, which will help underprivileged students attend and complete college.
So many things blow my mind about this story, I don’t even know where to begin. Eight million dollars! Think about the lives her donation will change, the impact she’ll have on so many students. She “could have lived on Park Avenue”, but instead she chose to use her wealth to help young people in need. She lived a modest life, probably because she knew that buying junk doesn’t actually make you any happier, but helping others does. She held a job that some would argue doesn’t have a strong positive impact on society, but made decisions that will ultimately positively impact thousands of lives.
And she’s not the only one. Several others, some of whom are referenced in the NYT piece, left multi-million dollar fortunes to charity despite the fact that they had regular jobs and lived unassuming lives. And, I think, their quiet heroism is inspirational.
So what will I do with my future fortune? I’ll give it away, of course! I know that every dollar I don’t spend on myself will ultimately be given to somebody who needs it more, in addition to the added benefit of giving me unlimited freedom! Charitable donation can be done in many ways (we’ll have a future post or guest post on this topic soon!). After reaching financial independence, maybe I’ll simply donate 100% of any future income to charity. Or maybe I’ll donate a portion while continuing to grow my stash for a future Bloom-esque donation. There are many possibilities, and they are fun to think about. Perhaps even more fun than hearing some extra engine noise on your gas guzzling pickup truck 😉
So how will you use your fortune for good? Let us know in the comments below!