Tag: Volunteering

Is it a need or a want?

As I sit here ready to leave Fiji, I am reflecting on some of the things I’ve learned over the past couple of months, and particularly, during our final volunteering placement with IVI, which we finished up yesterday. One of which is a new perspective on the question ‘Is it a need or a want?’

I knew that we were going to a remote island school, and having had some experience in an even smaller, even more remote village in Fiji before, thought I knew what to expect. But I didn’t. The school we were placed at had very different opportunities and challenges.

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What’s your money personality?

I’ve always loved reading – perhaps too much – to the extent that I would literally hide under the covers with a torch as a child in order to read past my bedtime. I think my parents must have been the only parents in my class who visited the teacher to ask how they could get their child to read less and sleep more. Recently, I have been blessed to share this love with the children at the school we are currently placed at, where I have been reading them Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – one of the stories I first fell in love with as a child.

So perhaps it comes as no surprise that I’ve read not one, but two books on the topic of money personalities – Unlock the Secrets of Your Money Personality by Greg Smith, which I picked up secondhand (but seems to have been handed out for free by the ANZ bank at some point!) and more recently, Your Money Personality by Kathleen Gurney, which was recommended to me by Ben Kingsley of Empower Wealth. The two books make an interesting pair, as Gurney focuses on the underlying traits, and Smith on the resultant behaviours (so perhaps that would have been a better order to read them in!)

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How can I help?

It is estimated that volunteers contribute about $400 billion (USD) worth of services worldwide each year (calculate your contribution according to an average rate). Chief economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, is quoted in The Economist as saying that in Britain, formal volunteers each year do the work of 1.25 million ‘proper’ employees, and nearly a billion people are engaged in volunteering worldwide. Interestingly, Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka lead the charts, thanks to national days of ‘compulsory volunteering’ in Turkmenistan. Yet the economic impact of volunteering is not captured by GDP statistics as no monetary transaction takes place.

Andy Haldane talks about three types of value that volunteering creates: economic, private and social. Just as we need to consider various types of capital to evaluate our own wealth, it’s important that we consider the types of value we might contribute through volunteering – at home or abroad.

One of the joys of no longer having to work is being able to determine what you will do, and for how much. We’ve spent part of our time in Fiji volunteering through IVI. Had we not already resigned, it would be impossible for us to take time off in the middle of the year like this.

Earlier this year, we were in Fiji when Cyclone Winston struck. We were out in the Yasawa islands when the resort manager handed us two weather reports – one out of the country’s capital, Suva, and one out of the nearest city, Nadi.

Each predicted a different path for the cyclone – one heading to Nadi, one heading to the Yasawas.

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