Season for the Bigger Picture

It shouldn’t take the holidays to remind us of our responsibility to help each other but it usually does.

In the grand rush to learn how to make our clients as much money as possible, and to do pretty well ourselves, it’s easy to lose sight of the truly important things in life. Don’t get me wrong, I am not ready to lay down my financial calculator and devote myself to world peace but maybe our success as charter holders and candidates enables us to do something bigger than just make money.

IT is better to give and receive

I like to receive just as much as the next guy but how much does a person really need? I’m not rich by most measures but I live comfortably and will have more than enough to meet my financial goals.

If that were all there was to life, it would be a terribly depressing journey. Fortunately, as professionals, we have the opportunity to make a bigger contribution to the lives of others and the CFA community is not without its heroes.

The CFA Institute established a scholarship program for dependent children and spouses of September 11th with an initial contribution of $1 million. The Institute also donates needs-based curriculum scholarships each year and individual societies donate time and money in the millions of dollars to better their communities.

Banks and other financial institutions are among the most charitable corporations every year. JP Morgan, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo were among the top ten corporate givers in 2012 with almost $1 billion in cash donations.

Bill Gross, the bond guru and CFA charter holder, has donated more than $125 million over the last decade to a variety of causes and institutions. Mr. Gross is the largest donor to Doctors Without Borders in the organization’s 42 year history.

Compassion starts at home

Changing the world doesn’t have to mean donating millions of dollars. Your knowledge of financial matters may be worth much more than you know. Try donating your time to local causes. Ideas as simple as debt and responsible budgeting are sorely needed in some areas. Volunteer to help aspiring entrepreneurs with their business plan or help them understand their financial needs.

Most societies have a committee for local giving and community programs. Volunteering with the society can be a great way to give back to your community and make some strong networking connections.

Start big or start small, you can still have a huge effect on someone’s life and maybe make the world just a little bit happier this holiday season.

‘til next time, happy holidays!
Joseph Hogue, CFA