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What Being Overly Generous Means for Your Portfolio

Generosity is a good trait to have, but can it be a detriment to your finances?

This post is in response to
The Avatar: What Kind of Emotional Investor Are You?

There are people who love to contribute to others. It’s in their nature to want to make a difference and have a positive impact with their actions. This feeling can apply to any situation—from opening the door to helping someone across the street, or even grabbing a cup of coffee for a coworker. They live for the privilege of serving.

We all know someone who has this personality. Sometimes that person is “us”. Generous people never feel fully satisfied unless they make an impact on others around them. They seek opportunities to contribute and it doesn’t feel like work—it comes naturally.

These same tendencies towards impactfulness translate to their relationship with money. They are generous, charitable, and have a desire to help with their money. They strongly believe in the notion of “giving the shirt off their back.” To them, money flows freely and is not something they feel a pressing need to hold on to. If you resonate with these characteristics, your Avatar may be The Giver.

So what are The Giver’s strengths and weaknesses?


Each Avatar possesses a superpower—something that empowers them and comes from the essence of who they are. The Giver’s superpower is causes. They want to create them, be a part of them, and support them. Involvement in causes allows the Giver to make a difference for someone else—on every level. It could be something as small as bringing muffins for office mates or as large as liberating an oppressed people in a foreign country. Mahatma Gandhi was a Giver.

Whether leading or contributing, the Giver feels most alive when actively involved in a cause. It keeps their juices freely flowing.


On the other hand, every Avatar also has a kryptonite—something that can cripple them—that they need to be mindful of and find a way to manage. The Giver’s kryptonite is overcommitment which stems from their inability to say “no”. Because the Giver is wired to say “yes”, saying no is extremely difficult. This can lead to stress, overcommitted schedules and/or mistakes, as items fall through the cracks unattended. No one can successfully say yes to everything and expect to fulfill that many responsibilities.

The key word for the Giver is discernment. They must understand that when time, energy, or money is given to a small task, those same resources cannot be apportioned to other larger and more crucial tasks. Being able to discern between important and unimportant is key to staying afloat and being most productive.

The Giver’s Relationship With Money

The importance of discernment also applies to money. Obviously, no one should give all of their money away. But the Giver, in particular, must remember the unique challenge they face. They have a difficult time saying "no", and when an opportunity presents itself—a charity looking for donations, a friend seeking a loan, a loved one in need—the Giver is naturally inclined to contribute.

Luckily, a financial advisor can be instrumental in helping the Giver stay on track. Their fiduciary duty to the client includes finding healthy places for them to invest money. If the advisor can provide options that support causes, the Giver will build a financial portfolio that not only bears returns but also fulfills their inner need to contribute.

Key Takeaways for the Giver

1. The Giver needs a buffer

When a request is made of the Giver, they need to allow space before answering. One powerful answer includes: “I’d love to help, but let me get back to you on that.” This simple statement allows the Giver ample time to consider each request. They can then use this time to determine whether the request is the best use of their resources and energy.

2. A key question for the Giver

It will always prove helpful for the Giver to ask themselves, “Is this energy, activity, or action serving the greatest good?” Again, the Giver, like all of us, only has so much energy and time to expend. Any resources given to one task cannot be used for another and must be appropriated properly. For this reason, the Giver needs to carefully consider where they apportion their time.

3. The Giver needs to build a wall around their finances

A powerful best practice for the Giver is to build a wall around their finances—and put a financial advisor in place to guard it. The Giver must be aware of their own tendencies to agree overzealously and put safeguards in place to prevent themselves from putting their finances at risk. Left to their own devices, they may be prone to giving too much away.

About the Author
David Miller

David Miller, CFP, is the CEO of PeachCap and a progressive thought leader in the financial services industry. He brings emotional intelligence to the financial services industry.

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