Good things happen to people doing good things
By Scott Dawson, MS, CFP®
Charitable giving is very personal. Individuals give in different ways based on their values and what they care about. Giving to many means writing a check or donating things, which I have done regularly through the years. There is another form of charitable giving that I have found to be very rewarding and has changed my life forever…donating my time.
Financial planning is something I value and care about and am pretty good at so I have donated my time sharing my knowledge for the sake of giving back to the community and helping others. Over the years, I have spoken to foster kids about financial literacy, given presentations on retirement, investment, and tax planning at libraries and a local college, coached financially struggling families for a year on various financial planning topics to help build better financial habits, volunteered for the Public Relations Committee, Scholarship Committee, Pro Bono Committee, and Board of Directors to chair the Pro Bono Committee for the Financial Planning Association’s East Bay Chapter. In each of these experiences, I felt like I made a difference in people’s lives, which was personally very satisfying.
The other day I overheard someone say, “Good things happen to people doing good things” and it resonated with me instantly. This quote is very meaningful to me because it reminds me how I met my spouse. Before I met her nearly 9 years ago, I signed up to participate in the most unlikely of places for singles…a pro bono financial planning event in Oakland. It was the East Bay Financial Planning Association’s first annual pro bono event and I donated my day to provide free financial planning advice to the public. Unfortunately, not many people showed up to share my financial wisdom. The number of financial planners outnumbered advice seekers by a good margin and there was lots of idle time. Fortunately, my spouse, who is also a financial planner, also decided to donate her time that day. Since we had no people to help, we got to know each other and talked about such riveting topics as safe withdrawal rates, investment philosophy, taxes, and retirement plans. What a blissful day it was!
Getting up that Saturday morning at 8am with the intent to help others was one of the best decisions I ever made. And now, two beautiful, healthy little girls later…my life has forever changed.