Monday, February 27, 2006


"A man can't get rich if he takes proper care of his family."

~ Navajo saying


Even on the simplest level, this old Navajo saying should have some relevance on every rung of the ladder of wealth - and we're talking strictly material wealth here. This quote illustrates the noble virtue of philanthropy, but also addresses the issue of "charity begins at home."

We earn money because we have to pay the utility bill, buy the groceries, pay the mortgage, plan for college tuition, and save for retirement, among a myriad of other expenses. After taking care of "home and family matters," we often find that there is in fact very little left over. Indeed, it is difficult to amass wealth when we have so many responsibilities.

But what to do if and when you find yourself in the lucky situation of having extra money available? Reading the Navajo saying above, can you see the larger picture of "Man" and "His Family"? Even if you don't have children, even if you have no siblings, even if your own parents are no longer living, you still have a family.

This is where philanthropy enters the picture. Why do we contribute to charities? Just for a tax deduction? No, because we feel a connection, and maybe an obligation, to those less fortunate than ourselves. In addition to just money, your time is also a very valuable contribution, but remember that when your time is up, "you can't take it with you" and you shouldn't take it with you.

Make sure your wealth leaves a legacy of caring and compassion, not just for your own family, but for the entire family of man. Here's to rich relatives!

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