Hold it tight and you won't have any.
Lend it, spend it, and you'll have so many,
They'll roll all over the floor."
This is from a song I learned (Magic Penny by Malvina Reynolds) when I was little. It's not really about money, of course, it's about love. But I've had this song stuck in my head while I've been thinking about a book I recently read.
I picked up Richard Carlson's Don't Worry, Make Money from the library because I like his Don't Sweat the Small Stuff books and I liked the idea of not worrying about money so much.
I'm still trying to make up my mind if I believe this author or not. Aside from the many smart financial ideas this book contains (Pay yourself first! Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses!), the author advocates several less conventional ways of dealing with money.
"Giving is an energy that not only helps others but creates even more for the person who is doing the giving...Any success you have is despite your lack of giving, not because of it. The way to get the flow going again is to start giving."
So Carlson is suggesting that you give money away generously, and that the universe, in its karmic way, will somehow give it back to you again.
I can't say that I either agree or disagree--I'm still trying to figure this one out. There are certainly plenty of people on both sides. There are popular books like The Secret that suggest that if you just think positively enough, the positive energy you create will flow right back to you. Then there are lottery winners I've heard about who buy presents like trucks for their friends until, pretty soon, they find themselves broke again.
I've also read studies that suggest that people who give generously are actually better off financially. Why? No one knows for sure, but I would imagine it's because (a) they are happier and people want to be around happy people, so they hire the giving types and give them opportunities grumpy people don't get, and (b) if you're generous to people, they will remember your kindness and either look for ways to repay you or think well of you and recommend your services to someone else.
So do I believe that giving away money creates some kind of cosmic energy that will automatically flow back to you? I'm not sure. Do I believe that worrying less and thinking about money as an abundant resource might pay off? Probably.
Here's my challenge to myself. This week, I'm going to spend money on doing or giving something to someone else. We'll see what happens.