I’d like to think most of us want to give as much back to others as possible. The problem lies in our limited resources. If we don’t make a lot how can we give a lot? If we’re working like dogs at our jobs and have to raise a family where are we going to find the time either? Some companies offer volunteer programs but they are few and far between. They are also almost always scheduled during our precious personal time.
Being charitable is a very personal decision. There is no right amount of time or money to give, so don’t ever let anybody tell you otherwise. That said, I’ve often struggled with figuring out what is optimal due to the feelings of guilt. I could have very easily been born in an underdeveloped country with no way out. Yet here I am living in America with all the opportunity in the world. I’m not sure if others feel the same way, but if you do I’d love to hear your thoughts on why we just don’t work as hard as possible given how lucky we are.
BLOGGING AS A FORM OF CHARITY
If you’ve ever wondered what the average percent of income donated to charity is take a look at the post I wrote on Financial Samurai. The range is roughly 3-5%. I wrote the post to understand whether taxes are a form of charity given such an uneven tax burden in our country. If you are paying more in taxes to the government than you are saving, which is the vast majority of people, doesn’t that feel a little off? I think so.
When I first started blogging I’d spend three hours online on average after spending a full day at work. Sometimes I’d go five hours until the whee hours of the night as a full blown blogging addict! For all of you in the first year of blogging, enjoy the rush! It may not last for much longer.
We all know that the online world is a tremendous amount of fun. What with social media, the Yakezie Forum, conferences, and random meetups and all, who wouldn’t love to just work online all the time? Our writing often evolves into topics that are helpful to others as we build a following and become more authoritative in our niche.
Spend some time taking a look at your post progression over the months and years. My posts went from ranting against the progressive tax system that feeds a bloated government to detailed retirement advice on 401(k) savings, and net worth asset allocation in order to flourish during boom times and survive during crises. My last post on net worth took over 10 hours to write. I’ll never get that time back, but I had a very focused mission to get those who are 100% invested in the stock market to diversify. I’m seeing way too many people in their 20s overallocated to equities given all they’ve experienced is a bull market.
For the first year of writing, there was hardly any revenue coming into Financial Samurai. Take three hours a day times 365 days and that equals over 1,000 hours of work. Take 1,000 hours and multiply by a median wage $25/hour job and we’re talking $25,000 a year! Now I’m sure most people would rather receive a nice $25,000 check instead of a year’s worth of blogging advice. But my point is that our time is valuable, so don’t underestimate it.
Our readers who have never tried writing blog posts don’t realize how much time we spend coming up with ideas, writing content, editing, formatting, scheduling, etc. Those hours quickly add up, yet we make it look effortless. They get to enjoy all of our efforts and even lob in a few complaints when we don’t do things well. Weird isn’t it?
BLOGGING SHOULD CURE ANY GUILT FOR NOT GIVING ENOUGH
If we combine the amount of taxes we pay plus the amount of time we spend on our sites helping readers with their finances, I don’t think any of us should ever feel guilty about not giving enough back to society. Running a successful blog takes consistency, dedication, and character. A lot of us share our own personal experiences to let our readers get to know us better and also to help them learn from both our mistakes and successes. A lot of times it takes courage to publicly share our feelings, opinions, and experiences.
What’s worse is that sometimes we put ourselves out there and get attacked by readers! I’ve got to imagine not being able to deal with dissenters is a main reason why so many bloggers quit. It takes guts and fortitude to have an opinion and take all the attacks. And it’s not easy talking about the mistakes we’ve made. It’s easy for readers to criticize without revealing their own weaknesses and mistakes. Fortunately most people in our audiences are supportive, eager to learn, and offer up tidbits of their own experiences and knowledge.
At the end of the day, blogging is a labor of love. Financial Samurai has helped me deal with plenty of demons. One of the biggest ones was figuring out whether I should take the leap of faith and leave corporate America or not. Even writing this post is a way to get over my concerns of not donating enough to charity. Blogging helps others just as much as it helps ourselves.
Readers, is blogging a form of charity? Do you ever have guilt for not giving enough time or money to others? Could bloggers very well be the most charitable people on earth?