Long time no blog! I am using this time of quarantine as a way to get reacquainted with the wonderful habit of journaling and blogging with a first person voice, keeping you and me entertained in the process. You may feel like you have missed a few episodes, or rather a whole season! I will try to catch up as we go. In the meanwhile, stay safe and wash your hands 🙂
Yesterday, we were talking about what to do with the stimulus check you just received, if you can afford to spend it on non essentials or donate it (if you would like to help me feed needy families in Guatemala, here’s the link!).
And if you are a reader of this blog, you are probably in a better financial situation than most. Which, as we all know, if rarely the result of luck only.
You worked hard to get there, you saved, you hustled, you accepted that double shift… you have earned it.
So have I. I have built my net worth by myself, as an independent single woman, and that is something I am pretty protective of.
While I am all in favor of helping those less fortunate, sometimes, I wonder where the line in the sand should be drawn.
For example, company bailouts. Yes, the small business next door deserves a bailout, compared to that wasteful big company. Or does it? You could have two small businesses with the same income, one with a frugal owner who has always saved for a rainy day, and one with a spenthrift owner, who can’t even afford next week’s rent. Why should one get free money and not the other?
What I touched on yesterday was the $1,200 stimulus check seemed fair in principle, that everyone is receiving the same amount. But should the millionaire receive as much as the minimum wage single mom?
Now when you give to a cause, or a person, do you consider the choices that led to that situation?
I don’t really have an answer. When I give scholarships for girls to go to school in my Guatemalan village, I base them on the academic results of the girl. One girl has a hard working dad who is always around in the fields and trying to hustle. One girl has an alcoholic dad who is drinking away more than it would cost to send his daughter to school.
Am I helping him keep drinking because now tuition and books are covered?
Another thing I don’t have an answer to.
And I can’t answer wether my efforts are optimal when I try to have an impact. I read from a homeless person that lately, a lot of charities are stepping up to help provide food. So food isn’t the main issue.
Buying a homeless person a $8 latte because they are sitting in front of Starbucks and you want them to have the same thing you’re getting isn’t helping as much as getting them a decent pair of socks for them to walk all day in.
Or maybe with that $8 they could buy a bus pass and not have to walk to the shelter. But people don’t trust the cash will go to good use. Are we allowed to decide where our charity should be directed? Do we know what the person’s best interest is?
That’s why in my village, on top of the food for the most vulnerable families, I mostly give work. Work is an exchange, the person gets a salary and the freedom to use it as they please.
For charities, I pick my own of course, because I know 100% of the funds will go to my cause in Guatemala, and also charities where 100% of the funds people give go to causes (they find corporate sponsors to cover their admin fees).
I could go on for hours, but I would like to invite you to think when you give, about not just making yourself feel good, but actually serving the person you are trying to help in the best way you can.