What Would You Do for Friends and Family If You Won a Windfall?

kobe-bryant-435Let’s say that you get a $20 million phone call tomorrow. Maybe you win the lottery or sign a huge contract or sell your company–whatever matches with your life. The point is, you’re getting a huge sum of money.

Do you spend any of it on friends and family? If so, how do you spend it?

A few minutes ago I read an article written by recently retired NBA player Kobe Bryant. It’s a letter to his 17-year-old self, and it includes a really interesting message.

It starts off with Kobe saying what he did in those early days. He gave money to friends and family in the form of cars, houses, bills paid, etc.

But then he says this: “While you were feeling satisfied with yourself, you were slowly eating away at their own dreams and ambitions. You were adding material things to their lives, but subtracting the most precious gifts of all: independence and growth.”

He continues with an alternative to simply giving away money and things to family and friends: “Use your success, wealth and influence to put them in the best position to realize their own dreams and find their true purpose.”

I think I can understand the temptation he mentions–it would feel really good to use a windfall to give things to the people I love. But I think Kobe is right: Even though that would feel good for me and those people in the short term, in the long term the most loving thing to do would be to use the windfall to help people grow and achieve their own special kind of success (if they even wanted help).

What do you think about this message? Is that how you’d use part of your windfall?