I am a selfish person at heart. My saving grace is that I am not hypocritical about it.
My number one favorite charity as a selfish person is buying term insurance. The lucky subsidizes the unlucky. The lucky ones are those who do not need to make claims because nothing unfortunate happened. The unlucky ones are those who met with some unfortunate events that cost a huge sum but were saved by the insurance claims. Without "charity" from the lucky ones, the unlucky ones will have to absorb the full financial cost of their bad luck. Nobody starting out in life will know how their luck will turn out later in life. So, I try to be selfishly charitable by donating to "charity" to help the unlucky ones in case I turn out to be among the unlucky ones later.
My number two favorite charity as a selfish person is investing in the shares of great companies which make plenty of money and create lots of social good along the way. If the "charity" turns out poorly and I lose all my money, fine. It is charity anyway. If the "charity" turns out wonderfully well, it is "charity" at its best. The "charity" makes money. The customers are happy to pay money because the value provided by the
product/service is worth more than the money paid. Suppliers make money. The employees make money. (Isn't this better than simply giving money to the jobless poor who still remain jobless with shame and no dignity?) Most important of all, I
make money :) Being charitable is good, particularly when it yields benefits to selfish people like me :)
Hopefully, my selfishness will wear off later in life. As a person grows wealthier, he actually becomes less selfish. No wonder the world's greatest philanthropist, Bill Gates, is also the world's richest man. The world's greatest capital allocator, at one time the world's second richest man, has decided to selflessly allocate the bulk of his wealth to the world's richest man's philanthropic foundation. These two selfless charitable donors really put selfish "charitable donors" like me to shame. I feel like a selfish bastard and rightly so. However, I assure everyone not to be wary of selfish people like me. If one day, I suddenly say things like "Money is not important. I just want to help people and make this world a better place. Helping people is my passion blah blah ...", then you really have to be wary of me. Be very careful of people who talk like selfless do-gooders and have yet to earn their big pot of gold.
One of the big social risks today in the world is the huge inequity in the wealth distribution of the population. Too much wealth in too few hands for those who don't need that much money while the many who need more are starved. We all start off as being selfish looking out for ourselves and family only. That is perfectly normal human nature. After some make it, it is also human nature that some of them will follow the shining examples of Mr Gates and Mr Buffett to give back to society. I hope I have the goodness in me to behave as well as these 2 gentlemen after I achieve 0.00X% of their wealth. If I am indeed that blessed but still stay like a selfish bastard, here is a gentle reminder to myself to read the history of the French Revolution and study what happened to the rich when the many who were poor revolted. I promise to let the poor eat more cake at my expense if I am blessed enough so that my head does not end up in the pike. Hmm ... being selfish again?