Nearly every day keeps us busy dealing with interesting issues for wonderful clients. Often we are involved in critical and emotional issues at life intersections. Along the way clients teach us (in a good sort of way). Some of those lessons are the subject of this week’s blog.
Family grief can reveal unexpected surprises by exposing bonds you didn’t know existed. In the midst of one family’s grief I received an article that poignantly described one of the greatest interpersonal resources we’ll ever have—the gift of siblings. “Siblings are the only relatives, and perhaps the only people you’ll ever know, who are with you through the entire arc of your life. Your parents leave you too soon and your kids and a spouse come along late, but your siblings know you when you are in your most inchoate form.” The same goes for “family” that is intentionally chosen. Siblings understand each other better than a mother or father ever will, according to Frank Bruni, writing for The New York Times.
Life experience brings more happiness than material possessions—one client’s holiday choice inspired us to follow suit—take a family trip rather than put a lot of packages under the tree. “People actually do know, and accurately predict, that life experience will make them happier,” according to a recent study. Despite knowing this, shoppers still spend money on the material items. Perhaps our austere ancestors whisper in our ears otherwise, but it really is true—life experiences bring more happiness than material possessions.
Charitable giving creates joy but also disquieting side-effects. Whether it is the $1million bequest, consistent annual gifts exceeding $100k, or spontaneous acts of generosity, they all have common characteristics. The charitable act itself produces joy, but it also can be mixed with reservations about effectiveness. A weight of responsibility exists to give well. Suggestions for effective charitable giving are shared by the founder of the nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Action.
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J. Mark Nickell & Co.
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