Answer to Washington Posts question:

Q: Do financially successful people have an obligation to help those in need? Are Bill and Melinda Gates, who have given away hundreds of millions of dollars through their foundation, encouraging others to step up to the plate? How much should people who have made millions be expected to give?

Sometimes our biggest lessons come as a result of being in need and finding a way to empower ourselves to find our own solutions. Bill Gates took a step out and created a company that is now a part of America`s financial foundation. That, in itself, is a gift to our world. I do not think financially successful people have an obligation to help those in need. I don`t like words like “obligation,” “rules,” “should” or “expectations.”

Bill and Melinda Gates set a great example for giving, not just of their money, but of their time. In so doing, they have raised the bar and given others a brilliant role model. Let me be clear, a role model is not the “right” way, rather it is one way that others can choose to imitate or not.

The biggest financial gift the Gates or any financially successful person could ever give is the gift of helping others generate financial success on their own. Financial success is a mindset. Imagine the difference it would make to our world if we all knew how to create an abundant mindset — having the confidence in your own ability to contribute to your life and society.

Education and inspiration are the two greatest gifts anyone could give to someone in need. Financially successful people “should” give what makes the most sense to them, knowing that the more they give, the more they will receive — that`s the law of the Universe.

Rock on!

Misti Burmeister, Washington Post best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers