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The hundred-dollar bill

Daniel M. Boardman, CLU, CFP

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If you were given $100 and told to use it to make a difference in someone’s life, what would you do with it? Boardman asked his office manager to give all 30 employees this challenge but found himself nervous when he received his $100 bill. Find out what he did with the money and why he believes in this idea.

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In November, which is Thanksgiving time here in the United States, I asked our office manager to pass out a crisp, new hundred-dollar bill to each of our 30 employees. We asked them to go out and make a difference in someone’s life with this $100 and come back to our next meeting in December to let us know how they had used the money.

As our office manager was passing out the bills, she handed one to me, which I wasn’t expecting. I found myself nervous. I was thinking, How am I going to make a difference in someone’s life with just $100? If their roof is leaking, I can’t fix it with only $100. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Everyone else must be feeling the same way I am!

I suddenly remembered a friend and neighbor of mine, who recently turned 70 years old. He had stumbled upon some hard times, and it was discovered that he was thinking of committing suicide, so his family admitted him to a crisis center.

As I thought about my friend, who’s a farmer, I remembered that one of the great things he would do is grow roses and pass them out to people in town. I wondered, Has anyone ever given him roses?

I have a client who is a distributor of flowers. I went to his business and said, “Tom, here’s my situation. I’m heading to this crisis center. I’m not really sure what to expect, but I’d really like to give my friend some roses.”

He brought me into this large walk-in refrigerator that had every type of rose you can imagine in all different colors. He piled them in my arms and then wrapped them up. I reached in my pocket and gave him the crisp hundred-dollar bill.

As I walked into the crisis center, a nurse asked if she could help me. I said, “Yes, I’m looking for my friend,” and I gave her his name. She brought me down a hallway, and as we turned the corner, there was my friend in the kitchen! He saw me holding this huge bundle of roses and started crying . . . and I started crying, and we hugged.

It was very emotional! We spent 20 minutes talking to each other. I reminded him of all the times he had helped my family, all of the people who love him dearly, and what a great person he is.

As other patients and nurses came into the kitchen, I would tell them stories of how he had helped us. It was the best 20 minutes of my life. When I was leaving, he mentioned that no one had ever given him roses before!

I walked out of there emotionally drained and realized that I truly had made a difference in his life.

At our December meeting, our employees shared their stories of how they used the $100. There was cheering, laughter, crying, and just the greatest feeling in the room. Everyone will remember that one meeting when we all shared how we made a difference in other people’s lives.

The Hundred-Dollar Bill Concept is something I would recommend you do with your kids, your company, or even your friends. The Hundred-Dollar Bill Concept will make a difference in other people’s lives, and it will certainly make a difference in yours as well.

Thank you, Jen Borislow, my friend and mentor, for this great idea!

Daniel M. Boardman, CLU, CFP, is a 25-year MDRT member with 15 Court of the Table and three Top of the Table honors, and president of Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning and Group Benefits. He is currently trustee of Champlain College, past president of the Burlington Boys & Girls Club and past president of the Society of Financial Professionals Vermont Chapter.


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