At a family reunion this past weekend, I learned my father used to pay his younger siblings a nickel for their chocolate pudding when he came home on military leave. He loved chocolate pudding, and I was raised on it – the homemade kind my mother cooled down in a water bath in the kitchen sink. To this day, eating homemade chocolate pudding produces feelings of comfort and pleasure for me, and it brings back a host of joyful memories from my childhood. Sometimes joy comes from the most unexpected places.
For example, do you feel that the act of giving can bring about fulfilling, enjoyable feelings? It can, according to the results of a 2012 study from U.S. Trust, a subsidiary of Bank of America. The survey reached 701 people:
- Three quarters created their own wealth
- Most came from middle class families
- More than half don’t think of themselves as wealthy
In other words, they are used to “cooking their own pudding,” and now that they have resources to share, they rank philanthropy as more important than possessions and lifestyle.
Younger generations of high net worth cite “giving money away” as the best part of wealth, with nearly 70 percent saying it was their top pleasure. You can contrast this with the generation over 68. This age group was only 35 percent as likely to feel the same way.
It’s also interesting to note that 85 percent of the younger generation credits their parents and other family members as their source of charitable values.
Surveys and statistics are only as important as what you do with the information you read. This study reminded me of two important questions:
- Giving can be a truly enjoyable activity. How can you make it enjoyable with your particular giving style?
- The younger generation already think philanthropy is the best part of wealth, and they have their parents to thank for teaching them charitable values. What are you doing to share your giving with your children?
The real phrase, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” dates back to the 14th century. Like eating pudding, it’s in the experience of philanthropy that we learn to enjoy giving. It’s in the experience of philanthropy that we come to understand what matters in life. We learn it from our parents and our children learn it from us. It reminds me of another phrase – it’s proof positive!
Your Philanthropy would enjoy working through these questions with you to help you discover the most joy you can find in your giving.