Tim Ferris Won’t Give Money To The Homeless

Here’s why giving money to panhandlers does more harm than good.

Muchina T.K


You’re walking or driving somewhere when around the corner stands of sits a person holding one of these.

Photos1 by Mart Production and 2 by Timur from Pexels.com: Collage by the Author

You drop a few coins in a cup or you reach in your wallet, pull out a bill or two and hand it to a man holding the sign.

Well, you shouldn’t.

What you just did wasn’t helpful. It was hurtful, both to the person you gave money to, the surrounding people, and the city.

But it’s not always the shaggy, unwashed bum on the street corner trying to separate you from your change.

It’s also the nice little clean lady who needs a dollar for the bus or the guy who just lost his wallet and needs to get back home to his hungry, sick Chihuahua.

The signs are creative and the excuses innumerable, but you shouldn’t EVER give money to panhandlers no matter how sad their story is.

First, let’s hear why Tim Ferris doesn’t give money to panhandlers.

On May 18, 2016, Tim Ferris, the author of the runaway bestseller “The 4 Hr Work Week” talked to Stephen J. Dubner on the Freakonomics podcast.

Here’s a snippet of that conversation.

DUBNER: You’re visiting New York now, which you do pretty regularly. It’s not uncommon to run into someone on the street asking for money. So it seems like everybody, over the course of their life, develops some kind of standard strategy for that scenario. What’s yours?

FERRISS: I do not give money, and I’ll tell you why. I, at one point, paid a homeless gentleman in San Francisco to give me a tour of the entire sort of homeless underground in San Francisco.

DUBNER: What did you pay him?

FERRISS: It was through a service that I think is no longer around*. I think it was called Vayable? V-a-y-a-b-l-e. It was maybe 50, a hundred bucks, something like that? — And he was very explicit and he said, “You should never give homeless people money.” And he showed me exactly where they —



Muchina T.K

I question everything...and then write about it. I'm probably not going to help you "make money writing." But I might teach you a thing or two ..or not.