Anonymous Christmas Tipping

With Christmas just hours away, I wanted to bring to your attention five cases of people who truly seem to “get it” and understand the arc of wealth-building involves a transition point from financial independence to helping others once your basic needs are taken into account.

#1. Anonymous donor to match Salvation Army donations through New Year’s Eve: In Wichita, Kansas, an anonymous individual pledged to donate up to $100,000 as a matching donation now through New Year’s Eve. This donation came on the heels of Salvation Army’s Wichita operations announcing that they had raised $100,000 less compared to this time in the previous year.

#2. Anonymous $50,000 donation gives big boost to annual Rockin’ for the Hungry food drive: Some of the most personally gratifying donations occur when you can actually measure the amount of goodness that your gift brings. Given that people who acquire wealth tend to have strong quantitative aspects to their personality, it must be emotionally satisfying to know that every dollar donated to the Rockin’ for the Hungry food drive leads to three meals provided to Washtenaw residents near Ann Arbor. This anonymous donor singlehandedly created 150,000 meals for others, which is an almost mind-boggling effect to see how relatively modest donations (compared to the billionaires we often read about and discuss) can make wide-sweeping changes in the lives of others.

#3. Anonymous Donor Pays Off $25K In Ohio Layaway Bills. This person just showed up at a Wal-Mart and paid off over 100 total bills for people that had purchased their items on layaway, allowing people to receive pleasant calls letting them know that they balance had been completely wiped out due to the selfless generosity of a stranger.

#4. ‘Tips For Jesus’ Tipper Outed, Wealthy Man Leaves Thousands of Dollars In The Lord’s Name. Jack Selby, the Vice President of Paypal, turned out to be the person that had been leaving donations of 100x the bill under the moniker “Tips For Jesus.” I especially find donations of this kind appealing because: (1) this type of charity is direct and 100% effective in that there is no intermediary to cut off some of your funds to siphon away part of your donation to account for administrative costs. And (2) I also like the notion of helping those who help themselves—waiters and waitresses get disrespected on a near daily basis (if you don’t believe me, try it) and yet they are still grinding it out, and I like the idea of helping to advance someone who is putting in the effort and labor to work.

#5. Anonymous Donor Drops $3,500 Ring Into Salvation Army Bucket. According to this news story, a Salvation Army bucket has received items of expensive jewelry four years in a row, and it is believed to be courtesy of the same woman. The expensive jewelry donations are interesting because it is not as automatically presumed that the person making the donation is exorbitantly wealthy, and it could be an example of someone with more modest means giving what she can. Either way, it’s a great example of someone sharing with others.

A lot of times, I right about investing as if financial independence is the ultimate end game. But really, if you do it right, it should be just one stop on the journey. If you don’t engage in significant lifestyle inflation as your passive income piles up, you could reach a position where you are bringing in 2-3x what you spend on an annual basis in passive income, and you can spend large chunks of that excess wealth being a Santa Claus figure all year round, and I can think of no better way to spend the final decades of your time on this earth than sharing your abundance to (at least temporarily) take away the financial hardships of your fellow man.