We’re the lucky ones

In Latest, Money cents by Donna Willan

We're the lucky ones

We are the lucky ones. All of us who read this column and wonder how to invest wisely, we are lucky enough to have money to invest, even if it is only tiny amounts. The majority have nothing to invest. So, today I want to talk about what we could all be doing to ‘give back a little’, ‘help our communities’ and ‘make a difference’.

I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to help each other and play an active role in our communities. So here are some ideas to consider doing to make a difference and contribute to making South Africa great. You might be inspired, you might already do this or you might not agree.

But here are my thoughts:

  • Teach our children, nieces, nephews and neighbours’ children to want to make a difference, to care about others and to share. A wonderful way to do this is to encourage them to share their pocket money with those who do not have as much as them. This could be putting money into the charity tins at till points, or donating their old (good condition) toys and books to a children’s home. Take them with when you drop it off, so they get the ‘feel good feeling’.
  • For older children and adults let’s volunteer once a month (or weekly) at a soup kitchen, a shelter, the children’s home or a local community gardening project. You could even start a small project at school or work – Random Acts of Kindness is one club I really love. (Each week the group does a random act of kindness – how cool is that?)
  • Make a monthly donation to a cause you care about; just put a stop order onto your account, even R100 a month can make a difference. You probably won’t really feel it, but the organisation you are helping will!

Stop talking and start doing. As Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Whatever is outraging or saddening you, think about what you can do to change the situation.

Maybe it’s the monthly donation, maybe its volunteering your time and skills to a local organisation, maybe it’s mentoring teenagers, maybe its sponsoring a mother to learn to read or a child to complete their schooling or your domestic worker to start saving for retirement.

Let’s reflect on the salaries we pay, whether it be our domestic staff, child minders, or small businesses we run. Just by paying one decent salary we can make a difference in the lives of the many people dependent on that one income.

Even on months when I’m feeling broke, I need to consciously look around and remember we are the lucky ones. Let’s share some of our wealth, our time and our skills to make a difference, and let’s raise the next generation to also want to make a difference.

In my next column I’ll look at that train racing towards us on the tracks – the likely petrol price increase.

Donna


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