Sun. Jan 24th, 2021

Why It Pays to Give Back to the Community

These days, everyone is just trying to get to the end of the day, the week, or the month. 2020 has been a crazy year, to say the least, and it has caused many people across the United States and the world to find themselves in dire straits. The U.S.’s unemployment rate is nearly eight percent, down from 15 percent in April but still an abysmal number. The stock market has been a veritable roller coaster all year, with volatility on the New York Stock Exchange we haven’t seen in years. Whether you work in real estate, managing mutual funds, or are a first responder in the healthcare industry, it’s a scary time.

Regular folks may be excused for not finding the time (or the point) in giving back to the community when they themselves are barely eking out their rent at the end of the month. But this may actually be a great time to give back. After all, when everyone makes an effort to lend a hand, whether that’s a small giving pledge or supporting a new law to help out people on Medicaid, we all benefit. Think about this as investing in a retirement plan for the whole community—we all pay in whatever we can spare, and the whole society enjoys the dividends when they come to fruition. Read on to learn about how to give back to the community; however, you can help everyone out—whether you’re just trying to make rent or you’re a billionaire.

Support a healthy community.

At some point, we all need medicine. Maybe it’s just some Advil for a headache, or maybe it’s something more serious, like prescription medication for a mental health disorder. Perhaps you prefer to go the route of alternative medicine, like supplements or vitamins. Whatever it is, we all end up at the pharmacy sooner or later, and it seems that, lately, drug prices have been rising and rising to the point of no return. The healthcare industry is a sticky web of bureaucracy. If Medicaid or Medicare does not cover you, you can easily find yourself owning plenty of hard-earned dollars on medications. In fact, healthcare law is so specific and complicated that a healthcare lawyer often works solely in that field. Some law firms are dedicated to keeping people within the bounds of the health law.

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It can make you sick to think of how hard it is to get medicine sometimes, which is how John Arnold and his wife Laura Arnold, founders of the John Arnold Foundation, felt when they thought of it. The Arnolds are Texas billionaires—Laura is a lawyer, and John was a trader at Enron before leaving and becoming involved in philanthropy. They could have done many things with their billions to help out society, it’s a lot of money after all, or they could have decided that the best thing to do is keep it all. Any financial advisor will tell you that the best way to stay rich isn’t by giving away all your money. That’s what you should know if you’re new to investing, of course, especially if you’re just in it for the money and not for the community.

Nevertheless, John Arnold and Laura Arnold decided to put their backs and funds into a long term investment in the form of the fair healthcare law. They’ve been taking on the pharmaceutical companies and the federal government both, demanding fair drug prices as a way to invest in a healthier community in the long term.

Philanthropy isn’t just for billionaires.

You may be thinking that this is all well and good for Texas billionaires, but what can regular folks do? The truth is, you don’t need a billion dollars to be a philanthropist. All you need is a passion for helping out others. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, because it’s not all about money anyway.

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Maybe you can offer professional help or advice to people trying to make financial decisions. Maybe you can do some phone banking to support a state law that supports your value. Maybe you can volunteer at one of the many nonprofits out there or take on another legal issue such as bail reform. None of these takes much money at all, and all are important. Whatever important thing, a new law, or topic you feel passionate about—let that be the focus of your philanthropy. The Arnolds are just one example of how to give back. Find yours, and you’ll be in the best place to help. In the end, with a healthier and happier community, it’ll pay off in spades.