Today finds this Benjamin stacker a little flummoxed. See, I thought that I knew something about getting ahead financially. It turns out that the key to helping someone find success is easier than I’d originally imagined. One rather large (and apparently misguided) portion of my brain thought that some of these factors might be involved:
- Introduce them to other compelling role models who’ve walked a similar path
I now know that these are all wrong, stackers. What’s really important, apparently, is this:
To help the poor, just hand them money.
I’ll admit: I never knew that.
…and once they have money, you shouldn’t help them learn to actually hang on to the cash. There’s no reason for that. The entire reason that poor people don’t have money is because…well, because they just don’t have any.
Forget about an attention to income generation, investing, budget, or other time-tested wealth building.
Skirting Charitable Giving “Middle Men”
In a recent copy of FastCompany, I was introduced to a charitable group called GiveDirectly. In some ways, I love their premise: charitable organizations are often bloated, slow and ineffective. If you’re going to give, GIVE!
Here’s the GiveDirectly strategy: find people in Kenya who need money and get it directly to them.
What can go wrong?
On one side, I can see GiveDirectly’s point: most relief organizations in Kenya and other African countries are big fat scams. Overhead is high while results are pitiful. However, while I wholeheartedly agree that doing an end-around on these organizations makes a ton of sense, is handing someone cash the best option?
Maybe We’re Missing The Real Key
I don’t know enough about Kenya to remark on their individual struggles, but here in North America a lack of education and mentorship is often the problem. People from poor families are never taught to manage a checkbook, create solid income streams and succeed. Because we are often a product of our environment, we’re taught strategies that don’t work. In most situations, we aren’t taught at all. We watch our parents mess it up and act similarly.
I wish handing someone a pile of dough would help them lift themselves out of poverty. It is impressive that many of the stereotypes people have aren’t true: people don’t use this money for drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. This cash does tend to benefit children. People do try to use the money to overcome adversity. However, until I see more data showing me that uneducated people without any money management skills can make financial decisions that will lift them from poverty, I’m more likely to be out back in the pasture, waiting for the pigs to fly.