Tuesday 25 July 2017

What goes around comes around when you give your money away to strangers

Victoria Mary Clarke is hoping to make lots of small miracles happen by the random redistribution of wealth

IAM not a billionaire. Therefore, I do not know what it feels like to have so much money that the problem is not how to get money, it's how to get rid of it.

The other day, I happened to be cruising the internet, searching for a sign from the universe about how to make more money, when I came across an ABC News interview with the American billionaire philanthropist, Warren Buffett. He was talking about how hard it is to figure out how to give away the billions of dollars that he and the other members of the Giving Pledge are giving away.

In case you are not aware of it, the Giving Pledge is an organisation made up of billionaires who have pledged to give most of their billions to philanthropy. Originally it was just American billionaires such as Bill Gates, but now they are recruiting Chinese and Indian billionaires and indeed any kind of billionaire.

I immediately felt rather inadequate, not being a billionaire myself, and therefore not being qualified to join in. But I watched with intense curiosity, as Mr Buffett spoke.

A day or two later, Shane and I were at the airport, and Shane (as is his wont) was handing out €50 notes to anyone we came in contact with.

As often happens, I was trying to grab them off him and telling him to hang onto them, we might need them in the future. Shane got angry and told me that if you share your money, if you don't try to hold onto it, you make way for money to keep flowing freely around the place, and it all comes back to you eventually. It's good karma.

This situation was a disturbing one. On the one hand, I am a firm believer in karma, and also a firm believer in angels, who constantly tell me that when you hold onto things out of fear, you are vibrating at a lower frequency, and when you let go of fear and stop clinging to things, they come to you easily. On the other hand, I am afraid to let go of things, particularly money, in case the angels are wrong and I end up with nothing.

One of the problems I have with money is that I think about it in a very limited way. I expect it to only come in ways that it usually comes, like from work, for instance. But when I get money in surprising or unusual ways, it makes me think that maybe there are more possibilities.

Maybe a miracle might happen. Like maybe I might win the lottery, or maybe a rich relation might leave me everything. And so, inspired by Shane and Warren, and also by the dreaded Budget, I started a Facebook group (as you do) called 'Random Redistribution of Wealth to Total Strangers' so that I could persuade millions of people to randomly give away money, thereby making millions of tiny miracles happen, and creating a more optimistic mood. So far, we have 200 members but anyone can join.

It is scary to give money to strangers. They tend to be highly suspicious, especially when they haven't asked for money and don't look like they need it. My first victim kept looking around to see where the camera crew was hiding. But when I explained about the facebook group, she loved the idea and wanted to join.

To avoid embarrassment, one of our members has solved the problem of embarrassment by leaving money inside books, in book-shops, for people to find. Which is nice, but it means you don't see their reaction unless you loiter with intent.

There has been some discussion about whether the money should only be given to people who need it, instead of people who clearly have enough, but I am of the opinion that it is better to surprise all kinds of people with money, so that all kinds of people might be encouraged to also redistribute their wealth, and keep it moving around.

It is early days for this experiment, I don't know how much I will be able to give away, before I need to get a job in a bank, to finance my hobby. Possibly Warren Buffett or Bill Gates will read this and join and give me a million to hand out on their behalf.

But things are already looking promising. Last week I won the lottery. Granted, it was only a fiver, but anything can happen.

Sunday Independent

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