Gifts that keep on giving

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25 Apr Gifts that keep on giving

Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks once told the wonderful story of how her love for books was nurtured by a woman she had never met.

The woman, Althea Glasby, was a friend of Geraldine’s grandfather. One day Geraldine’s grandfather mentioned to Miss Glasby that his little granddaughter loved to read. From that day forward a parcel arrived for Geraldine every birthday and every Christmas. Each parcel contained an expensively bound, lavishly illustrated edition of a book carefully selected for Geraldine. Inscribed in the front cover of each, in flowing script, were these words, “To Geraldine, with love from Althea Glasby”.

Geraldine Brooks never met Althea Glasby. She has no idea what inspired this woman to start sending her the books. But this is what she had to say, “I have no idea why this woman spent so much time and thought on a child she didn’t know…Whatever the reason, I wish I could thank her in person. I wish I could tell her how those books shored up a love for the written word that grew over time into a career and a calling. I would like to give her one of the books I’ve written, nice, hardback first edition. The signature wouldn’t be as fine and fluid as hers, but in my pedestrian scrawl I would say thank you, for the gifts that helped to lead me to a life in books.

This story highlights how a small act of kindness, especially to a stranger, can go a very long way to make a difference to someone in ways we couldn’t possibly imagine.

In financial planning, we spend a lot of time talking about spending, saving and investing. But I don’t think we spend nearly enough time talking about giving, and specifically the joy that comes from giving to others. To our friends and family, to complete strangers and to those who may are less fortunate than ourselves. It truly is a gift.

Think about your own life. Can you attribute some of your success to the help you’ve received from others? Would you be here today without the generosity of others?

As financial planners, part of our work with our clients is to help you think about the legacy you want to leave to your family, community and the world as a whole. Let us know if you would like to have a chat about this.