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    Healthy Greed and Philanthropy

    By Kristen Houghton     

    Greed is a word that has a bad connotation. We think of greed as being a terrible thing; religions even tell us that greed is a sin. A greedy person conjures up images of someone who hoards money and precious resources. But did you know that there is something called “healthy greed” and that living this way can actually enable you to help others?

    Healthy greed defines a way of living that is comfortable. You are not greedy in the sense that you want to have everything in life while others live in poverty with nothing. Not at all. In fact people who live a life of healthy greed are some of the world’s biggest philanthropists, giving large donations to many charities.

    Living well is not wrong. Taking care of your family and yourself first actually makes good, practical sense. If you are well and healthy, with sufficient funds, you are in a much better position to help others.

    I am reminded of a piece of advice an economics teacher, Cate Yorke, once gave to her class. She said there are things you need in life and those things are not many. Shelter, food, water, and clothing are the bare necessities.

    “But,” she continued, “There are things that make your life better, more comfortable, and healthier. Those things are ‘wants;’ a comfortable home, nutritional food, clean water, quality clothes, and medical care. Add to that a car that is in excellent condition, the ability to provide well for your family, and you have a life that is good and solid. The ‘wants’ are more practical and economically sound than the necessities because you are in a better position to give back to society. Your good lifestyle actually will help to benefit others through your charitable works.”

    Bill and Melinda Gates live quite well but they also are very mindful of using a portion of their wealth to help humanity. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have an enviable lifestyle but, they too, use their money to make others’ lives easier and better. There are lists of people who help make the world a better place through charitable giving.

    One of the greatest philanthropists of modern times was Brooke Astor. Her oft-repeated famous saying concerning wealth was,

    ‘“Money is like manure, it should be spread around!”’

    And spread it she did, improving daily life for countless people. She also enriched all lives by her generous endowments to the arts and humanities.

    The idea of healthy greed may seem a conflict of words but it isn’t. Living a well-cared life gives you a responsibility to help others. Make your own life as rich as possible in all ways. Then take a tip from Brooke Astor and spread the wealth around.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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