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Kiva got started and what they do.
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By now you know that the
tax rates have been extended for another two years for everyone who pays
taxes. There will also be a small one year cut in payroll taxes so people
will also see a tiny increase in their paychecks. Oh yea, our grandparents
are safe because we avoided a huge tax increase for estate taxes. The estate
tax rate will be 35% for estates over $5,000,000. The part of the debate over
the tax rate extension that got to me the most was the discussion of need.
Questions such as do “rich” people need as much money, as they have, became
serious debate topics. As if they did not earn the money they have.
We have seen a change in our nation’s attitude toward wealth and those who
try to achieve it. It seems to have started a couple of years or so ago and
began to gain speed rapidly. Things such as building businesses and
maintaining portfolios are now consider greedy selfish endeavors. “How dare
he try to make money now, can’t he see that there are people
suffering?” For some reason people see the suffering but not the cause,
the collapse of wealth. It was just a few short years ago when wealth and
achievement were celebrated.
The focus has changed from wants to needs. How often do we hear, “does he
really need that trip, airplane, luxury car etc.?” Need is understandable in
a person’s own life when the current circumstances cause personal cut backs.
Many of us have cut back on certain types of spending. However, need should
not be a factor when looking at others. Want is an acceptable reason for having
something, must it always be need? If I went to an expensive restaurant it is
not because I needed to but because I wanted to and there is nothing wrong
with that. As a matter of fact our economy is based on people not only
satisfying their needs but also getting some of their wants.
In times like these, I remember the teachings of one of my many mentors. “It
is indeed not selfish or greedy to create businesses, focus on achieving your
goals or building your wealth. However, it is selfish and greedy not to do
so. If you have been given the intellect, the strength and the courage to
create businesses, achieve great things and make money and you do not do it,
then you are selfish”. The businesses you did not create will not
provide the goods and services the public wants. The non-existent business
will also not provide jobs for your local community. The world will not
benefit or be encouraged by the things you did not achieve. The wealth you
did not create did not benefit people in need around the world. Remember, not
many great chartable works are funded by the impoverished.
Allow me to add a little patriotism to my mentor’s teaching. Not only do I
believe it is selfish and greedy to not do all you are capable of doing to
build your wealth, but it is also unpatriotic. America is the country
credited with the phrase “making money”. Before America came into existence
money was not made, it was inherited or otherwise transferred. Wealth
creation is an American born idea; it goes hand and hand with freedom and
An important concept from my mentor was that wealthy people support
charities. It is important to be part of the solution and many worthwhile
causes allow us to do just that. One particular cause that I can really get
behind is micro-lending. Micro-lenders make small loans (very small loans) to
entrepreneurs around the world to build or expand their businesses. These
fledging entrepreneurs are located in impoverished villages and towns in some
of the world’s poorest countries. The funds from these loans are used to buy
things like a sewing machine for someone to make and sell shirts, a gas
fueled fryer to increase tortilla production, tractor parts for a small
farmer, and you get the picture. The loans are interest free and the pay back
rates are surprisingly high. This is a great example of giving a hand up and
not a hand out. An organization that facilitates these types of loans is
Kiva. Their website has hundreds of people and their stories each seeking
loans. For more information on Kiva click here.
Some of you may be saying
that you will start giving once you have become wealthy. Please let me share
another concept with you. In order to achieve or create anything great you
should follow these three principles. First, make your desire known.
Second, do everything you know to do to accomplish it. Third, accept it is
being done. The first two are easy to understand but, what does accept it as
being done mean? It simply means being ready to accept the fact that you
actually have achieved your goal. One of the ways to do this is to begin to
act as if you have already achieved it. In other words if want to be wealthy
then act as the wealthy act. Wealthy people support worthy causes. Pick
a cause that you can get behind and support it. If it is Kiva great, if it is
something else, great; just get in and help.
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have somewhere met with the epitaph on a charitable man which has pleased me
very much. I cannot recollect the words, but here is the sense of it: ''What
I spent I lost; what I possessed is left to others; what I gave away remains