Selflessness

I think a lot of people have a misconception of people in finance and banking. A lot of people think we are just spoiled, selfish individuals who would take advantage of anyone (however that is the case with some people).

This bothers me a little because I think I'm the opposite. That leads me to the point and question of this article: what is the most selfless thing you have done in your life?

For me it is making really good resumes for all of my friends and family members (as nerdy as it sounds). I just want to help people around me succeed even if it is for an application to Walmart. I've been doing it for about 2 years now and it makes me happy when one of my friends tells me they got the job or whatever the outcome is.

Cheers

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Comments (20)

Most Helpful
May 20, 2022 - 8:15am
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

question - is something virtuous if someone seeks recognition of it or brags about it to others?

is a donation to charity really charitable if you use it as a tax reduction strategy?

is a donation to a school with your name on it really a donation or just a monument to yourself?

if you're looking for ideas on how to help, that's one thing, but I'll go further than you're talking about - the "selflessness" I see in finance or among wealthy people far too often is people who only donate to charity because they can write it off on their taxes, so they can be recognized for being a good person (e.g. posting a selfie showing how virtuous you are), for power, and for attention (saying you'll donate half of your fortune to charity when you die, big fucking whoop, people need help NOW). that's the majority, not the totality, there are plenty of very good people who work in finance, and maybe I'm too cynical/jaded, I just have a hard time believing that people who boast about how much good they do are in fact good people.

May 20, 2022 - 8:53am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Your statements are predicated on financial acts and not selflessness. The OP is looking for selflessness which can come in many, many forms that has (in a lot of cases) nothing to do with money. 

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May 20, 2022 - 9:30am
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

that's a fair distinction, sounds like I am being too cynical/jaded. I appreciate the reality check

the most selfless act I've witnessed is a client of mine who took in a young man from the ghetto who lost both of his parents to drugs, violence & prison and raised him as their own (no formal adoption), paid for his college and helped him quite literally break the cycle

as for me? I don't think I've done enough to warrant mentioning, I do some similar stuff to what OP mentions but it feels like a drop in the bucket. I've helped people get jobs and get started in life, but nothing like what my client did. maybe some day

May 20, 2022 - 11:22am
WalnutBrain, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's a very valid point. I guess the selflessness I was aiming for was, doing something nice that benefits or helps someone else with no benefit to yourself (as well as no recognition for it). You know like the saying "not all heros wear capes". something like that

May 20, 2022 - 12:45pm
jarstar1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

question - is something virtuous if someone seeks recognition of it or brags about it to others?

I would say yes. Ultimately, the material effect of your act has an impact outside of your intentions. If you donate $1m to a food bank because you have some petty rivalry with another rich guy in town, the people are still getting that $1m for food. This is different when you leave the realm of purely financial donations, for example if you're going to mentor someone 1 on 1 and they find out you have ulterior motives the result could backfire and they don't learn from you. 

I think the idea that people are vain and self obsessed actually is a net positive for charities. Society seeing being generous as a pro-social behavior, regardless of intent (I think a major exception is donating money to launder your reputation), is something I think we should encourage since it gets people who aren't primarily interested in helping others to contribute. It may seem dumb that some people want their name on the building or plaque, but it has tangible benefits to the charities, and I don't think we should discount that help just because the underlying motivation is actually selfishness. 

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May 20, 2022 - 1:18pm
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

good point, the net benefit to society is likely positive, so it's helpful, but it doesn't mean it's virtuous. for virtue, I think there's a higher standard. it must be done without expectation for anything in return from others, it doesn't mean you cannot do it for your own benefit/dopamine hit, but for something to be virtuous, I don't think it can be done for selfish reasons

May 20, 2022 - 11:06am
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not CFP, but I like to give strategic financial literacy advice to my friends/family. Things like asset allocation, tax advice (maxing out IRA/401k/HSAs, etc.), things you read on personal financial blogs since it always astounds me how basic financial literacy isn't taught in schools. I'm not a saint, and it's maybe not the most of God's work, but I like that finance can help a lot of people. This has been talked about a lot on WSO, thebrofessor himself especially has many powerful and insightful comments about these things that have personally helped me (and countless others) tremendously.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

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May 20, 2022 - 1:48pm
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

When I moved back to NYC after a year at home, I was crashing on friends couches.  I had gotten a good job but had literally 0 savings and brutal credit.  I needed to get my own place and found the perfect spot that I could afford.  I was fired up until I learned that one of the requirements for the building was having proof of a full years worth of rent in cash.  My boss at the time found out and wired me the amount I needed.  I kept it for over a month so it would appear neatly in a monthly statement and I was able to get a unit.  At that point I'd been working for him for less than a year and he helped me in a way that I never would have expected. 

May 20, 2022 - 6:22pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bragging about selflessness means a loss of humility.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

May 20, 2022 - 6:24pm
WalnutBrain, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This post wasn't meant to "brag" about being selfless, I just simply wanted to hear some good stories/examples of selfless things people have done.

May 20, 2022 - 8:49pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ok fair enough 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

May 21, 2022 - 1:39am
WalnutBrain, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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