The 7 Forms of Generosity

Lisa HandleyBlog, Financial & Estate Planning, Investment Management, Money management, Philanthropic & Legacy Planning, Retirement Planning, Wisdom for Life

The 7 Forms of Generosity

Think of the last time you were the recipient of an act of kindness or generosity.

How did it make you feel? Did it brighten up your day? Did you tell someone about it? Did it inspire you to pass kindness or generosity on to someone else? We cannot receive an act of kindness or generosity and not be positively impacted! It is crazy to think that even small acts make a difference. These acts affect the receiver, the giver and anyone who witnessed the exchange or hears the story later.

Chances are, when you thought of your recent ‘gift’, it was not monetary. There are seven forms of generosity: Thoughts, words, money, time, things, influence, and attention.

I have been extremely fortunate to have been around many generous people. My wife, Kathy, is one of the best at this. Although she is generous in many ways, her most common currencies are her thoughts, words, and attention. Kathy is by nature a “glass half full” person. I often smile when we face a challenge, and she immediately voices the positive aspect we will now get to enjoy. Kathy’s warmth, smile and attention have a positive impact on the people she encounters through her day. She leaves a trail of generosity and kindness, and it rarely costs her much.

I have never met a generous person who stopped being generous. However, I regularly see generous people becoming more and more generous because it brings them such joy and fulfillment. There is a very important lesson here: everyone connected to generosity wins – the recipient, the giver, and all who learn of it. Generous living is an exceptionally wealthy way to live!

Generosity can also bring incredible benefits through multiple generations of your family. We want future generations to be wise with money and have the best possible life they can. Unfortunately, for many families’ money is not a topic of discussion. The best way to transfer our vision and values to our children and grandchildren is through stories. Everyone is interested in a good story. The best communicators use stories because they are captivating and are remembered. Few things will have a greater impact on our family than sharing stories about how and why we engage in generosity.

I have never met a generous person who stopped being generous. However, I regularly see generous people becoming more and more generous because it brings them such joy and fulfillment.

Here are some of the outcomes:

  • A deeper connection occurs across all generations
  • Mutual love and appreciation grow
  • Enlightenment occurs as we learn about each other, leading to greater respect
  • Family identity is formed, which influences the self identify of younger generations
  • Family harmony and community are enhanced
  • Our focus moves from self to others and our gratitude grows
  • The family has a common & unifying interest that all can participate in regardless of age, resources, or life experiences

Wow! What a return from some conversations. Here are three steps to experiencing these results in our families:

  1. Model – Be generous, practice using all seven forms. Over time others will catch the joy of living generously
  2. Encourage – Discuss opportunities for giving in areas of our family member’s interests but do not apply pressure to give
  3. Engage – Share stories and engage in conversation about what is happening to us and others through generous living

For inspiration, take five minutes and check out some short video stories of how people are living generously ( Bet you can’t watch only one!



Generous living has many forms, but all forms have great upside for everyone involved. When we share our stories of generosity with family members there are many, many benefits. These conversations can literally change our family’s future. Here’s to a generous life and family!

Gain Clarity, Contentment, and Freedom in your Family Wealth.

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