Tax, spending cuts, rip-offs, fraud, scams, debt, economic crisis ... the financial world can be a thoroughly miserable place sometimes. Occasionally, however, we hear about something entirely different: a money news story that lifts our spirits, restores our faith in people, and offers us a bit of hope for the future. It's worth taking the time to recognise these shafts of light through the economic gloom.
We have brought together ten uplifting tales from the money pages.
Ten uplifting money stories
10 money stories that will lift your spirits
Matthew James saved his fiancée’s life during the Tunisia beach terrorist attack, and hundreds of strangers wanted to show their appreciation for his heroism.
Matthew James, a 30 year-old gas engineer from Trehafod in South Wales, was shot three times - in the chest, shoulder and hip - as he protected his partner Saera Wilson.
In the first ten days after the attack, the crowdfunding campaign raised more than £16,000.
Dan Price, founder of credit card processor Gravity, has increased the salary of everyone who works for him to at least $70,000 (£47,000). He has paid for it by slashing his own pay from $1 million to $70,000.
Jack Walker, an 83-year-old former Coldstream Guard, had saved up £4,000 to pay for his funeral, but it was stolen from his house.
A fellow Guardsman set up a fundraising page, and restored both his savings and his faith in humanity, raising over £6,000.
Richard Branson is giving new parents at Virgin Management the chance to take up to a year off to care for their baby at full pay.
The deal is open to both mothers and fathers, and is available to anyone who has worked for the company for four years or more. Those with fewer than four years’ service will still get a generous percentage of pay.
A student in Dundee got talking to a homeless man who explained he was putting off vital surgery because he didn’t have anywhere comfortable to recover. She set up a crowdfunding page to raise £3,500 so he could rent a flat for a few months. The page received £7,600, and she found Les somewhere safe to stay.
A waitress in the US posted a photograph online of a tip she had received. The $200 tip came with a note saying: "Brandi, thank you for your service. I overheard you talking about your son. Use this to visit him."
The child who found fame as the Success Kid internet meme has raised over $100,000 to fund his dad’s medical treatment. His father needed a kidney transplant, but his insurance wouldn’t pay for all of his care, so the family needed another $75,000. The family set up a fundraising page, and strangers with a soft spot for their favourite meme donated $100,000.
A woman in Leyland in Lancashire carried out random acts of kindness to brighten people’s days. She left envelopes around town containing lottery scratch cards, money for parking tickets, and a note she handed to a coffee shop to pay for the next customer. She kept her identity a secret - even her husband didn't know what she was doing.
An inventor designed a shoe for children living in poverty around the world. The shoe can be adjusted to increase five sizes, so it grows with the child, and donated shoes can last for years.
He set up a crowd funding campaign to raise $50,000 to make and distribute 5,000 pairs of shoes: he eventually received just over $100,000.
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They include stories of incredible good luck that have transformed people's lives - including the couple who stumbled across a fortune in their back garden.
They also include brilliant stories of strangers uniting to help someone who has been through a difficult time. These crowdfunding tales are enough to restore anyone's belief in the fundamental decency of human beings, not just because of the thousands of people who donate thousands of pounds, but because there is someone who cares enough to take the time to set up the campaign and try to make a difference to someone else's life.
And they include business decisions that will cost leaders thousands of pounds, but they have taken these steps because it's the right thing for their employees - including the man who did something truly amazing to his staff's pay packets.
Each one of these ten stories goes to show that financial matters aren't just bad people doing bad things to good people: there is plenty of good out there too - we just need to look hard enough to find it.