Why I Committed to Making 2015 a Year of Charity

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret… I like to talk a big game on my blog and my Instagram feed about the kind of lifestyle I get to enjoy because of penny stock trading.

I can’t help it. I get excited about what I do, and I love sharing it with others.

But the thing is, this year, I’m not focusing on exotic vacations or luxury cars or private jet trips. Sure, I’m enjoying those things, but my major priority this year is something much bigger.

I’m turning 2015 into my year of giving.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older (at age 34, ha!), but the thought of giving back seems so much more important to me than mindlessly chasing profits. That’s why I’ve formed the Timothy Sykes Foundation and committed to using it to donate $2 million of my trading and teaching profits to worthwhile causes.

Related: 4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back

Recently, I had the chance to make my first major donation. Through Make-a-Wish of Southern Florida, I was able to work with a little guy named Ewan to purchase a piece of technology that helped him communicate with his family for the first time.

Can you even imagine that? Being a parent and not being able to speak with your child? I don’t have kids myself, but I can tell you that seeing a child with a medical condition smile and see the world in a new light was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever witnessed.

That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m proud of the life I’ve created for myself. I’ve been trading penny stocks for more than 15 years, and in that time, I’ve made more than $4.2 million in trading profits. I’m also fortunate to have been able to pass on my knowledge to my students, two of whom have gone on to create their own million dollar accounts.

My success has let me travel to more than 100 countries around the world, and it’s earned me the dream car I’d been picturing in my head since I was a teenager. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying what you’ve worked for, but what I’m finding is that I enjoy using my profits to help others just as much as I enjoy spending them on myself.

And believe me - if you told 18-year-old Tim that his future self would care more about giving back than about himself, I’m guessing you’d have one pretty skeptical teenager!

Related: Which Tech Billionaires Donate the Most to Charity? (Infographic)

Charitable giving is powerful. I want you to take a second to think about somebody important in your life. Now, I want you to think about the most generous thing you could do for that person.

Say you’re thinking about the single mom who raised you, made sure you were educated and always made sure you had enough to eat -- even if she went without.

What could you do for her? Could you pay off the debt she’s been fighting for years? Pay her way through a new college degree? Maybe buy her a house -- even if that gift alone doesn’t come close to paying back what she’s given you?

Or maybe there’s a cause out there that you really care about, one that’s touched your life personally or the lives of your friends or family member.

How would it feel to make a big donation that will allow your favorite charity supporting the cause to help improve the lives of the families it serves? Or what if you had the choice to spend your hours working in support of the organization - rather than for a boss that grinds you down on the job everyday?

Your gesture doesn’t have to be expensive to be meaningful, but I want you to think big. Don’t let where you’re at currently stop you from dreaming about the different ways you can give back. You can always earn more money, and great causes always need support. The opportunity is always there.

So I invite you to help me make 2015 a great year. A year when we choose not to focus all of our energies on ourselves, but find new ways, both small and large, to give back to the people, communities and causes we care about.

If I’ve learned anything from my experiences with Ewan and his family, it’s that we’re all in this together. Let’s find ways to change people’s lives for the better.

Related: The Power of Giving Back: How Community Involvement Can Boost Your Bottom Line