Make Generosity Part of Your Financial Legacy


Financial legacy transcends one’s lifetime and influences the lives of generations that follow. It requires careful planning to determine how money and assets are to be used and the areas where contributions can have the greatest impact. Seniorpreneur and new author, Miriam Samuel recently celebrated her 90th birthday and is determined to impact her community through financial and non-financial contributions as part of her legacy. 

In her book, Mirie’s Magic Recipe: Loving, Leading, Legacy, Miriam (affectionately known as Mirie) discusses the importance of generosity through regular tithing, volunteering and sharing her knowledge and talents. In Chapter 6 titled Generosity: Love to give and give to love, she notes that some individuals and businesses only respond to annual appeals from charitable organizations or make ad hoc cash donations seasonally. However, Mirie recommends moving from reactive to proactive giving.

“Rather than choosing to give funds when a charity reaches out to you, strategic giving begins with a budget. You first have to identify how much you want to give — alongside your other financial goals — on an annual basis. Setting and funding a “giving budget” should be part of your overall financial plan,” Mrs Samuel said.

As a retired teacher who spent 40 years educating young minds, Mirie will donate free copies of her book to libraries, churches and civic organizations throughout the Caribbean to emphasize the importance of generosity to community development. Her books have already been donated to local public libraries in Antigua and Barbuda, as well as in Barbados and Anguilla, the main geographical settings in her book.

Miriam recommends the following actions to maximize the impact of charitable giving.

Review your giving strategy regularly

Mrs Samuel advises reviewing charitable giving at regular intervals, to assess how well it aligns with your financial plan and goals. You may find that your giving power changes from year to year. If so, you can adjust your “budget and giving strategy” for the next year. It’s also a good policy to review the charities you support to see if their mission-critical priorities are meeting your expectations. An organization may have shifted its support to address different needs, elected new board members or modified its mission.

Encourage others to join the circle of giving to multiply your impact

Encouraging friends and family to join you in charitable giving will help increase your impact on the causes and organizations that you care most about and make a larger impact than you could individually. Mrs. Samuel’s niece, US based attorney Delacy Jarvis-Thomas, recently donated 10 copies of Mirie’s Magic Recipe: Loving, Leading, Legacy to the National Public Library and libraries at the All Saints and Irene B. Williams Secondary Schools, as well as private citizens.

“I am thankful for my niece’s generosity. This is an excellent way to celebrate my 90th Birthday and I am honored to see my advice about generosity put into action. At this stage of my life I don’t need material gifts. I would prefer if donations are made to charities or prospective donors help distribute my book so that it can impact the lives of others,” Mirie said.

Invest in others. You can’t take your money with you

Mirie posits that our legacy can extend beyond our lifetime when we give generously and impart wisdom, values, and habits of generosity to the next generation. She believes that experiencing joy through someone else can enrich one’s life.  “If you can share in others’ joy, it doubles the joy you experience. So give generously to others to have a more significant impact on their lives” she said.

Generous people are happier. 

People who hold tightly to money with an iron grip often find themselves friendless and alone.  Money doesn’t give you morals, it just magnifies the morality you already have.  If you’re a selfish hoarder with little, you’ll be a miser with millions.  If you’re generous when you’re broke, you’ll be a philanthropist when you’re wealthy. “It’s no accident that “miser” and “miserable” come from the same root word,” Mirie said.

Financial tips for advancing generosity

1. Get out of debt!! 

Broke people cannot fund community programs, or mission trips, or donate big money to disaster relief efforts.  You must make debt elimination a priority if you want to be consistently generous with your money. 

2. Make giving a priority in your budget

John D. Rockefeller, America’s first billionaire, said “I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.” 

Tithing faithfully every month is critical regardless of your income.  Set up our budget to have 10% come off the top for your tithe (giving to our church), set aside a monthly amount for debt reduction, then create a budget on what is left.   Building a budget in this manner will make giving and saving a priority.

“It is rare to find someone who can live on 100% of their income but genuinely can’t make some sacrifices to live on 90% of their income,” Mirie says.

3. Teach the next generation about generosity

It is key that we emphasize the relationship between generosity and wealth to help educate the next generation. “I embarked on a “90 Days of Kindness” campaign in the countdown to my 90th birthday to highlight the importance of giving. Additionally, as part of the celebration, I gifted 90 friends and family members with a EC $2 note autographed by Sir Vivian Richards. This gesture was my way of emphasizing community giving and generosity as a part of my legacy,” Mirie stated.

Miriam Samuel believes that while building wealth is a noble ambition, it shouldn’t be an end in itself.  Rather, it should be the means to ensure that generosity is part of the long-term financial plan. She encourages individuals and businesses to find ways to give their time, talent, and treasures to others, as a way to inspire kindness and improve financial and mental wellness.

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    “The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but, the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.”

    Be safe and well!


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