Give While You Live

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man named Percy Ross who decided to devote the rest of his life to giving away his money. With some secretarial help, he read letters he received from people who wanted some of his cash, and decided whose situations were most worth supporting financially.

Those letters were part of a syndicated column that I used to read. One of the things I remember him saying repeatedly was “He who gives while he lives, knows where it goes.”

This isn’t just true of cash; it’s also true of stuff. We all have treasured possessions, our own or inherited from people who were special to us, that we just can’t give up. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but what will happen to those items after we pass away? What if our heirs drop those items off at the Goodwill, or worse, hurriedly toss them in a dumpster because our house needs to be emptied and sold by a certain date?

The answer to this dilemma, of course, is to give those items to people we care about before we die. Rather than let things remain stored away or just collect dust, we can give them to people who might actually use them.

Yes, it’s hard to part with such items. But you can always take photos of them so you can look at them when you wish; meanwhile the actual items might go on to have a little longer useful life and become valuable to someone else. Sure beats having your treasures wind up in a landfill.

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