The Science of Wise Investing
The crazy wisdom of money is that it’s not how much you have—but how you spend it. Elizabeth Dunn in The Science of Smarter Spending says investing some of your money on others, donations to charity and gifts to family and friends boosts your happiness.
Just as success on Wall Street requires wise investing in the stock and bonds market, so happiness is the result of shrew investing in others. A successful Wall Street investor, however, often has to be a risk-taker and a gambler…and the same is true for anyone who gives away their hard earned or saved money. But investing it in gifts to others, even strangers, isn’t a careless throw of the dice.
A young man I met while I was a State Prison chaplain had a minimum paying job after his parole but insisted on taking me out for a steak dinner. After the meal as we were leaving I saw the large cash gratuity he had left on the table and said, “That’s an extravagantly generous tip!” His face exploded in a broad expansive smile as he merrily said, “Just spreading the wealth around!” Without waiting for the waitress to return he started for the door. As I followed him out of the restaurant I couldn’t help but think that here’s a guy with only a low, minimum wage paying job who has bigheartedly not only hosted me for dinner but also given a lavish gift to someone he will probably never see again.
His offhand, playful phrase, “Just spreading the wealth around,” has remained with me as a lesson in the science of shrewd investing. It reminds me not to calculate down to the penny my generosity in money or in my time. And our model for being outrageously imprudent with our time and money? Our recklessly, crazy loving God!
The generous are open handed. Penny pinchers are tightfisted and can’t restrict their tightness only to their money! Sadly, the stingy haven’t learned Emerson’s wisdom: “Sometimes money just costs too much!” To quote an old street beggar’s request,
“Thanksgiving is coming, the geese are getting fat,
please put a penny in the old man’s hat;
if you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,
if you haven’t a ha-penny, God bless you!”
Now dear friend, as we conclude—a penny for your thoughts.