Seasons of Generosity
Generosity happens in every season of life, but the amount of time, money, or energy we can give will certainly vary.
“We are called to give whichever one [time, money, energy] we have in abundance,” explains Bob Tiessen, a life-long practitioner of generous giving.With careful, thoughtful planning, we can extend generosity throughout our whole lives. Click To Tweet
Establishing Generosity: The Early Years of Giving
As children growing up in the Mennonite community of Leamington, Ontario, Bob and Anita Tiessen gained a deep appreciation for the importance of generosity. “I think generosity was something that you picked up almost by osmosis … it was just a normal part of growing up,” explains Bob.
They watched their respective parents prioritize generosity as part of their money management.
“Money was always very tight, but giving to the church was always a priority,” says Anita emphatically. Sometimes, this meant Bob and Anita had a little less for themselves, but that experience was a practical lesson in generosity they both took to heart as children.
Growing Generosity: Giving in the Busy Season
Despite having grown up in the same small town, Bob and Anita met as young professionals working in Toronto. Anita had started her career in social work and Bob was working at a life insurance company. They married, and their individual giving became a family affair.
They both volunteered at their church and with local charities, but in this season of life, giving financially was a challenge.
Bob’s income was very volatile back then, but he and Anita didn’t want to sideline their giving. So they turned to Abundance Canada and created a Generosity Plan™. Abundance Canada also helped manage the distribution of funds to Anita and Bob’s recommended charity. As the couple progressed in their careers, they were able to grow their giving accordingly.
Planning Generosity: The Golden Years of Giving
Now, several years into retirement, Bob and Anita’s commitment to giving remains strong. “There’s a recognition that we’re no longer in the workforce. Our income has changed, and we have to be more careful,” says Anita.
Now they volunteer more time with their church and local charities, and they’ve structured their finances so they can continue donating to their favourite charities for years to come.
Anita puts it simply, “With a little planning, we were able to pre-fund our giving into our retirement … so we don’t have to stop.”
Extending Generosity: A Legacy of Giving
Looking ahead, the Tiessens want to ensure their legacy of generosity continues even further.
“We’ve been careful in drafting our will to reflect our generosity. So I don’t see a particular end point on our generosity journey,” says Bob.
Not only will the charities they care about be supported, the Tiessens are setting an example for their children, grandchildren and future generations who will come along after them.Bob and Anita’s lifelong generosity began with those early lessons in giving to the church, and they have honed their plans for giving over a lifetime. But they aren’t done growing their generosity yet. Click To Tweet
“We revisit [our Generosity Plan] regularly. As our circumstances change and time passes, we will reassess things.” But for now, their example of lifelong generosity is clear: Give what you can when you can and do so with love.