One of the universal truths is that, while money can help meet your needs and provide you with the basic necessities of life, it can’t make you happy.

However, it can be a powerful weapon of self-satisfaction when used the right way — such as through philanthropic endeavors.

“Money can be an incredible tool when you align it with your values,” says John Hagensen, founder and managing director of Keystone Wealth Partners.

“It enables you to feel a sense of contentment that your money is working hard for you to help you accomplish goals that match your values.”

And if you value giving back to others — to your community, to your favorite cause, or to planet Earth — then money will enable you to accomplish that goal.

But as you look at your budget for 2019, you may not know where the money will come from to give to your favorite charity or cause.

The answer is that it is probably sitting right underneath your nose, Hagensen says. But it will take discipline to find it.

Hagensen practices what he preaches; his company has made a commitment to donate up to $10,000 to help create clean-water projects in Africa. That aligns with his values because he adopted two children from Ethiopia and wanted to give something back to their native homeland.

Hagensen has three tips for those who want to give to their favorite charities in 2019 but aren’t sure where the money will come from:


Write down your values. Spend a few minutes to really examine what is important to you. Make sure all your monetary decisions support your values.

If you have older children or grandchildren, include them in the discussion so you can create a teachable moment for them.


Write down your long-term and short-term goals. Compare those goals to how you are spending your money.


Spend intentionally. If you value traveling, then cut down your expenses at home so you can travel more. Align your expenses with what you value in life and your wants and needs.


Cut out all of the expenses that don’t align with your values. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to what is important to people.

Most people think that a house is a necessity, but some people would rather live in a tent and travel all the time than own a home. It just depends on what you value, so make the most of your money.


“It usually does not take a major financial overhaul to give more to philanthropic causes,” Hagensen says. “It just takes a consistent approach that aligns with your values.”


John Hagensen is the founder and managing director of Keystone Wealth Partners ( in Chandler, Ariz. He holds the financial designations of CFS, CAS, CIS, CTS, and CES. Hagensen is passionate about coaching his clients to remain disciplined and committed to a long-term financial strategy.

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