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The Wooden Nickel:  What About Me?

The Wooden Nickel: What About Me?

December 02, 2023

People are down on everything!

I keep reading stories about how people think things are bad. Maybe it’s a story about how our political leaders continue to fail us. Maybe it’s how the prices are higher than they were a few years ago. Or it could have been the article about the fight to ban books from libraries. It might have been about climate change.

Hmm.  I’m down too, and it makes me angry.

The world seems to be full of problems, and we’re all yelling about them.  Mostly we are complaining about how other people are not doing the right things, not solving these problems despite the fact they are tasked to do so. We are right to be upset about these problems.

But I would ask myself this key question: what am I doing about the bad things I see going on in our peaceful, bountiful country to make it better for those who aren’t as lucky as I am? What are you and I, the most privileged citizens in the greatest county to ever exist, doing about the problems in a world of so much suffering? 

I do have some excellent excuses for not doing things:


  • I’m too busy. 
  • I don’t have enough money to make a difference. 
  • I helped last Christmas.
  • I pay my taxes; that should be enough.
  • I must take care of my family first.
  • I’ll give when Elon Musk gives.
  • That one charity I gave to was a scam.
  • I forgot.
  • I pay my employees well.
  • I made it on my own; nobody helped me.
  • It won’t make any difference.
  • I’ll do it when work slows down/I have more money/I get my tax refund/I’m retired/when my candidate wins.

Blah blah blah.


Sure, I can point my fingers at George Soros or Jeff Bezos and complain that they don’t do enough. And yeah, I’m mad about the ethical lapses of our Supreme Court justices and clown-car that is Congress and our ridiculously inept City government. 

I am also annoyed when I pull up to an intersection and I can feel that “homeless” guy staring at the side of my head while I remind myself that I’m a good person and he’s probably going to waste any loose change I give him.


But I can’t get away from the nagging question: “What am I doing about it?

I’m annoyed by my political representatives, yet I’ve never run for office.

Those “richer people” should donate to charities, but I could probably give a few bucks more.

I’m still in the workforce, so I tell myself that I can’t volunteer as often as those retired folks do.  But I could certainly give an extra hour or two a month.


What am I doing about it? 


How much did you give to charitable causes last year? Hey, it’s right there in your tax return.  Look it up. Guess what? No matter the number, you know it could have been more.

How many hours did you devote to causes besides your own enjoyment? I’ll bet you could have done 8 hours more, easy (I know I could have).

How active are you in your local community? Do you go to meetings? Do you participate? Do you even read that free newspaper they throw on your lawn to know what is happening?  Do you vote?


We have the richest society in the history of the human race and we also have more free time than any workers...ever!  Are we really saying that there isn’t enough money or time to do one more thing to help ease the suffering we see all around the world?


Look, I’m in the wealth business.  I love wealth!  Wealth is what makes charity possible. Wealth is what we are all trying to acquire. Wealth is what I’m trying to help you preserve, each and every day.  If there were no wealth in our society, a Financial Planner such as me has no purpose! 


It’s up to us, you and me, to MAKE OUR WEALTH MEAN SOMETHING. Yes, we should take care of our families! Yes, we should create more of it and make ourselves secure! Yes, we should make choices that make us happy and do fun things!

But please don’t forget that we are a part of this world, and we must be a part of the solutions to these problems. It’s up to us to make choices to help others and create the better world we so desperately want to have. Your choices about how to help might not be my choices, and vice-versa.  So what?  Work for things you care about, and so will I!  No matter how little or how small, we can contribute something. And then do a little more.

This holiday season, do ONE more thing! It’ll make you feel better!