The Rise and Rise of "Give a Little" Websites

Everybody loves a cheerful giver, but should you bank your family home on your mates bailing you out? Brendon shares his thoughts and frustrations.

This blog may get me in trouble but this is what I think: sometimes when I'm asked to donate on “Give a little” style websites, I get grumpy.

My heart should be filled with compassion. However, that's not always the case. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a cruel, heartless beast and I know that there are some situations where terrible things have happened and there has been absolutely nothing the people involved could have done about it. So please hear that … and I will join you in giving to those causes…

However…

One of the things I do at Velocity Financial, as well as helping people get into property through brokering home loans, is to advise about the risks involved in having debt and actually just living in a modern world. I then provide a way to mitigate that risk and, yes, that solution is insurance.

So I spend lots of my time talking to people about the financial risk of unexpected events occurring. These are the kinds of stock standard request you’ll see on a “give a little” site, requests like the death of the family breadwinner, cancers, strokes, injury causing car crashes and lots of other really unpleasant and terrible things.

A percentage of the people I speak to “don’t believe in insurance” or just don’t get around to sorting it out. This is fair enough if there is a solid plan B in place (like assets that can be quickly liquidated—I’m not sure if selling the family home is the best plan B in the world). However, all too often, plan B is “My family and friends will help us out”, which is another way of saying, “I don’t actually believe those terrible things will ever happen to me.”

And here is the source of my grumpiness … There are far too many people who have had terrible things happen to them who should have and could have done something about it … but they didn’t. They now need their mates to have a fundraising concert or start a “give a little” page.

Of course I have a vested interest in people taking insurance and I fully acknowledge that. I also apologise if I sound a little too evangelical about this(my mother may be proud that I still have an evangelical streak left in me) but I don’t think that makes my observations any less valid.

Comments gratefully received

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.