I was listening to a podcast recently on TIP, The Investors Podcast, in which William Green interviewed Michael Berg on the subject of Kabbalah which is an ancient spiritual wisdom. One of the tenets of Kabbalah is that you tithe or gift 10% of what you earn to those less fortunate than you. The concept of tithing is commonplace in religions and philosophies worldwide and probably in all of them.
Sadly in the UK such generosity is less widespread. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we have become a largely irreligious country. I don’t think British people are inherently mean. I think it just doesn’t occur to the majority of them to gift money away.
I myself was like the majority of British people previously but as I have become older I have got to know more people from poor backgrounds and their generosity has impressed me. I have also learned more about other cultures and their beliefs. As a result, I have become increasingly philanthropic and I now understand there is actually a joy in giving. People who do not give to good causes are actually missing out on the feeling of joy that comes from giving.
I also believe that many people think they cannot afford to give and that they themselves will be poorer off as a result. I think it’s a fear of loss rather than a miserly spirit. Here’s the thing though. The more you give, the more you gain! Givers gain! This is a core belief of Kabbalah and many religions and philosophies. I believe it is true. It has certainly been the case for me especially over the last 10 years or so.
It is difficult to give money away regularly when you think you cannot afford it but more people can afford to give money away than they realise. Psychologically you may tell yourself you cannot afford it but you will be rewarded back in many ways and not just financially but also emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and physiologically. Interestingly the people who give to you are often not the same people you helped. That’s one of the mysteries of life. Maybe it’s Karma.
I’ve also found that it helps if you give without expecting or wanting anything in return. Just do it out of the kindness of your heart. You will experience the joy of giving. It’s priceless.
Another factor in my increasingly philanthropic attitude is that you can’t take your wealth with you when you die! I am now 65 so I am becoming increasingly philosophical as I get older. I also don’t believe in making my children rich. I am happy to leave them each an inheritance but not too much so that they become lazy and useless. I really believe it will do them harm to inherit too much especially when there are so many others more in need than they.
So in the spirit of philanthropy, I created an endowment with the local charity Milton Keynes Community Foundation about 10 years ago called the Tony Byrne Financial Education Fund. The endowment is my legacy to the people in need of Milton Keynes. It will last in perpetuity. Only the dividend income may be used to help local people to become better financially educated no matter what their social class, religion, race or creed or whether the individual is employed, self-employed or unemployed. It doesn’t matter.
I believe that it is not the love of money that is the root of all evil but the lack of money. Research shows that if you are financially comfortably off you live longer, you live healthier and you have less relationship breakdowns hence less broken homes. That surely has to be a benefit to society as a whole.
Interestingly Kabbalah is different to religions and philosophies in that it encourages the accumulation of wealth on the basis that abundance isn’t a bad thing per se but that it has the potential to create abundance in all areas of your life including your health, your wisdom and your philanthropy.
William Green who interviewed Michael Berg on the subject of Kabbalah is himself the author of the best-selling book Richer, Healthier, Wiser. William believes that this is the natural order of things. Becoming richer should lead you to a healthier and wiser life.
As a company, we have donated £60,000 to the Milton Keynes Community Foundation so far. We would love to grow the endowment to at least £1 million so I implore you to make a donation to it no matter how large or small. Every penny raised will be greatly appreciated.
Of course each donation will be eligible for Gift Aid meaning that 25% will be added by HMRC to the amount gifted. So for every £100 gifted the government will top it up by £25. Furthermore, if you are a higher rate or additional rate taxpayer you can claim back £25 (40%-20% x £125) to £31.25 (45%-20% x £125) £31.25 for every £100 gifted.
So if you are not already a giver to good causes why not give it a go and look forward to gaining more in return. You know it makes sense.*
The value of investments can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest. The information contained within this article is for guidance only and does not constitute advice which should be sought before taking any action or inaction. All information is based on our current understanding of taxation, legislation, regulations and case law in the current tax year. Any levels and bases of relief from taxation are subject to change. Tax treatment is based on individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. This blog is based on my own observations and opinions.