Today’s post has less to do with debt and finance and more to do with the power of money –  to be precise, the power of those who have a lot of it.

A couple of nights ago, I was watching an episode of ABC’s Secret Millionaire. And for those of you who haven’t seen the show, the narrative is simple. They take rich people and plop them into communities that could benefit from financial stimulus (a.k.a. “poorer” areas). The millionaires seek out organizations or individuals who serve the community and tell them that they are doing a documentary on volunteerism.

Without questioning their motives, the community members put the millionaires to work, taking breaks to give reasons why the community depends on them and how they can benefit from generous donations.

Honestly though – how many seasons has the show been on now? How can people NOT know that the so-called “volunteers” are actually secret millionaires? Surely they’ve seen the show by now! Maybe I just don’t have enough faith in humanity, but most people wouldn’t randomly invite strangers to their house for dinner after chatting with them for only 5 minutes at a grocery store…right??! Well, that’s exactly what happened in the episode I was watching.

And with so many great organizations in the community, I wonder how the millionaires select which ones they’ll help out? Though I hate to admit it, I sometimes find myself thinking… “What!? How could they give so much to one individual (who hasn’t really done anything extraordinary) while the wonderful soup kitchen down the street gets nothing?” It’s all a bit confusing…

In a way, it’s good that these rich folks are giving away their own money to help those who are less fortunate. At the same time, I feel like the show’s concept is a bit condescending. It makes the millionaires seem like mini-saviors, and the communities are flocks of people who are lucky enough to benefit from their good graces.

While I support the idea of helping out your fellow man, the show seems a bit fake to me now (especially in the newer episodes). I’ve watched the show when it originally aired, and there’s a noticeable difference in how people behaved around their new “volunteer” and how they reacted when they found out they were mingling with a millionaire. Everything appeared more genuine back then, and the main thing the community hoped to gain by being on TV was awareness of their plight.

Money has the power to help you achieve many things in life. It’s a vehicle that keeps households and communities running. I wholeheartedly support giving to organizations and individuals who serve the public – whether it is with your time or financial resources. However, giving money to people is only part of the solution. It may temporarily relieve the problem, but in some instances, it may prevent a more permanent solution from being found.

I just hope that people realize that the power of money is great (gives you the ability to buy things…achieve goals…have financial security), but the power of knowledge and human compassion is so much greater.

Until Next Time,
The Freedom Family