11. A Gift
Posted on January 14, 2019
Today’s Letter from Grandma Sylvia
Just as I enjoy receiving the benefits of investing in good companies, I’ve found I enjoy giving to others, including giving to family, friends, and charitable groups I want to support. I’ve also found that many others, especially at my age, must have similar feelings because of the charitable giving around the world.
The Big Picture
The Three Wise Men of the Bible came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ-child, Jesus. At Christmas this story is told over and over and reminds us, not only of the meaning of Christmas, but of the human desire to give to others.
In more recent times, the short story, The Gift of the Magi, written by O. Henry is a tender story of love and gifting. The short story is a part of many collections that can be found in public libraries, but here is a free online copy. Worth spending a few moments to read.
For some of us, at a Grandmother’s age, we might recall Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that was a theory popular many years ago (including the need for food, safety, belonging, and self-actualization). Although now thought of as unscientific, it remains popular because it touches the experiences of so many. Later in his life, Maslow added to his hierarchy the concept of transcendence or altruism, which to me includes giving without thought of personal gain.
Here are some of the thoughts of others on giving.
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
Winston S. Churchill
It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.
Booker T. Washington
When I started investing, I used the services of one financial advisor and then another. Many of my friends have used financial advisors for years and have been quite satisfied with the services they’ve received.
Then I realized how much I was paying these advisors for their professional services and, after a while, I learned that I could do as well on my own. As I get older and don’t want to do the investing myself, I may change my mind and use a financial advisor. Time will tell.
However, in learning how to invest, I also found many people were willing to share their knowledge freely either online or in face-to-face groups. They were making ‘gifts’ of their knowledge to beginners like me.
Today’s Topic: A Gift
Investors come to the market from all walks of life.
One man I became interested in, William J. Bernstein, was a medical doctor, a neurologist, who later became a well-known author and financial theorist in modern portfolio theory.
At first, I became interested in him because of the books he had written, such as The Four Pillars of Investing and The Investor’s Manifesto. He’s written other books, but these were the ones that helped me when I became an independent investor.
Only recently did I find a 2014 booklet he wrote, If You Can, and it’s free online, from etf.com. I’ve read that Dr. Bernstein thought of this as an eleemosynary project to help younger people.
It’s a gift to anyone who wants to know what to do “to almost certainly beat out most professional investors. More importantly, you’ll likely accumulate enough savings to retire comfortably.”
This gift only takes a short while to read. I’m including the web site here.
I encourage you to read it and apply the ideas to your investing life.
♦ If You Can is a free online booklet well worth reading.
We all have gifts to share. Now I’m going to wrap some gifts and enjoy thinking about people who are special to me. How about you?