Author Topic: Disgusting question - donation to charities?  (Read 5310 times)

Paul der Krake

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #50 on: August 30, 2017, 09:07:24 AM »
I've found a donor advised charitable fund has been very compatible with our FIRE goals and charitable giving, worked out nicely from a tax benefit perspective as well.

The nice thing is that it is "forced" giving, so it gets us over analysis paralysis, and fights procrastination. It may also jive with many people's desire to invest: we allocated $25k to a fund with Vanguard Charitable in our second last working year, and set it to be invested automatically. We've been distributing about $500 - $1,000 anually to charities form that fund, and the balance is still higher than we started thanks to the stock market performance the last few years. It's gone up to almost $29k now, even with us distributing funds, so we might increase our rate of giving from the fund.
Bookmarked. Donating zilch in our accumulation years, but this will come handy later. I look forward to obsessing over a silly fund name.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #51 on: August 30, 2017, 11:03:46 AM »
Is anyone else bothered by how people only want to help locally and say things like, "We have to help ourselves first before others!" I've always thought this was pretty twisted... Many other countries are in so much worse shape. We should help both. Why not give your time locally but your money internationally? This seems the best of both worlds, since it's not always possible for someone to just move overseas to help in another country.

I understand the urge to be doing donations 'correctly.' I used to believe that volunteering wasn't really donation, and snorted derisively when people said it was on par with monetary donations. Then I decided I was being a dick, and probably I should stop. There's no simple answer to giving, and we should all make space for each other instead of deciding that our own chosen path is the one right, true, and conscientious path.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #52 on: August 30, 2017, 12:20:59 PM »
Amen Sailor Sam. One way I assuage my conscience about all the things I don't give to is by telling myself that I'm helping the starfish I'm helping, and thankfully other people will feel called to help the other starfish.

You know, because of the starfish story? The beach that was full of stranded starfish, and a guy is throwing them back into the water one by one while they dry out in the sun? And another guy asks, why bother, you'll never save them all, and the original guy says he was able to save that one, which made a difference the particular starfish he was able to save?

Not very eloquent here this morning...

Anyway, the list of things I don't give to despite my awareness of them as worthy causes is quite long. I generally also do not give to things that are presented as emotional, guilt-based generosity, because my money is already tied up in charities that I intentionally give to in a percentage-of-my-income based way.

We do set aside $200/month for spontaneous generosity to charities, but this money also encompasses gift-giving to friends and family, and hospitality (having people over for dinner, parties, etc.). It's a large part of our budget and is what generally bumps us over the 15% we already earmark for charity.
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marielle

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #53 on: August 30, 2017, 12:50:25 PM »
Agreed, giving anywhere you can is better than not giving at all. I want to give both locally and internationally. What I don't like is the "us vs. them" attitude some people have which a lot of times leads to no one being helped at all, especially if that person thinks everyone in their country has it made or just needs to work harder to improve their life. I don't mind people only giving locally (that's what I did for a long time, and for a cause that many may not even sympathize with which is parrots). But when it's a result of feeling that people outside of your country aren't worthy then that's problematic. I think this is a minority view though, but for some it's a subconscious decision. I'm even guilty of this, we all like to donate time/money somewhere that we feel like we make a difference (or even actually see the difference, receive thank yous, etc), and we don't get that feeling when we donate to a cause thousands of miles away.

It's hard for me especially because I see things in a very logical way. If I have $10k to donate, I could help 100 people I don't know in one place versus 10 in another place where I get to see the results or help someone I know. I struggle with this constantly and I'm sure it's quite controversial. That said, no one is perfect and I waste money on things I don't need just like anyone else. It's difficult to not beat myself up for buying a $10 restaurant meal when $10 is someone's weekly family food budget. And sure, I can blame the "system" on this problem...but that's not me. Just because I didn't cause the problem doesn't mean I feel morally excused to live a life of wasteful luxury. I think I will work on upping my charitable contributions, but I don't know how much is enough or if any amount would ever feel enough in my mind. I think it will help if I remind myself that all my money post-death will be given to a good cause since I don't have kids, so either way my money is going to charity whether it's now or later.

yavenay

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #54 on: August 30, 2017, 01:17:56 PM »
I live by the below rules. It has worked for me for years

Spend some -because you need to enjoy life today
save some - in case of life's many emergencies
invest some -in case your ass lives to be old
give some away - for those who are less fortunate.



My donations are setup just like by automatic savings. Because I am animal lover, I have donated to aspca monthly for years. Now that I am debt free, I will up my automatic contributions.

Meowmalade

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #55 on: August 30, 2017, 01:27:50 PM »
I live by the below rules. It has worked for me for years

Spend some -because you need to enjoy life today
save some - in case of life's many emergencies
invest some -in case your ass lives to be old
give some away - for those who are less fortunate.

I really love this.  It's so simple, but makes so much sense.
I have a new journal.

Poundwise

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #56 on: September 01, 2017, 07:36:39 AM »
If you're looking for a mostly-rational way to look at whether, when and how much to give to charity, I'll throw out some thoughts.

1. Give to charities because it is important to you and part of your ethos.
  MMM is about frugality-- which is spending your money efficiently on what is important to you in life, and giving up unnecessary things. It's not about stinginess-- which is giving up important things in life for money.  If FIRE as soon as possible were the only goal, we should all give up our homes, adopt out our kids, move into the cheapest roommate situations possible, and eat only the necessary to keep alive. No entertainment. Cheat and steal whenever safely possible.  But no, this is not the way of happiness.  Drop the unnecessary, but don't let go of the essentials-- such as family, enjoyment of life, health, kindness, and honor.

2. Give to charities as an investment in the future and world around you.   
MMM takes the long view. Care of the earth and our society is beneficial to the stability necessary to make a long, happy, early retirement. Also, better to invest in charity earlier than later.

3.  Choose your charities as carefully as you would an investment vehicle. 
You have limited time and resources-- make them count.  This is a very tricky piece of optimization and will need occasional recalibration.  Will $10 donated directly to a homeless family be as well spent as $10 donated to a food bank?  How much money or time should you donate?

It's a very personal calculation.  We all have  financial goals on different timelines that require a certain level of saving. Once we have removed our essential payments (housing, food, taxes, utilities) and our savings payments, we have some money left over.  Also, once we have done everything we need to for the day, we have some time left over. These excesses we divide between investment for the future, recreation and charity.

If you are not able to give to charity without staying in debt or extending your timeline, and you can't bear to extend your timeline for some reason, your recreational/charity budget will be very small.  But it probably won't be zero unless you can live with yourself as a human being that way.  Basically, if you can spend $5 on something stupid like a latte, you can donate that much too.

 But perhaps you can give some time to charity because few people can work all their waking hours. The time you donate would be best spent using your skill set, unless you need a break from your expertise, in which case it could be seen as part recreation or even training.

How about investment vs. charity?  If you are certain that you will eventually donate that money, and not end up keeping all the money for yourself... and that the investment gain is greater than loss to the charity by not receiving the money earlier... okay, I guess. But when I am tempted by selfishness to withhold charity, I often think of the following poem.
https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/legend-northland

Choosing the most efficient use of charity dollars is not easy to do objectively.  Sites like Guidestar and Charity Navigator help, but can be gamed. As for what sector to choose, it's difficult.   I used to believe that education and the environment were most important, but lately I've come to think that income inequality plays a great role too in all the striving that causes people to over-consume.  That's off-topic, but at any rate it was driving me crazy until I decided the best thing is not to be paralyzed, but for everybody to work as hard as they can on the essentials and all the shared goals, and improve when we see an improvement to be made.

Poundwise

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #57 on: September 01, 2017, 08:08:29 AM »
Found the link to the other discussion: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/what-charities-do-you-give-to/

This was a good question, OP! I look forward to learning from all the interesting resources posted like Freedom of Simplicity, When Helping Hurts, and Give Until it Hurts (The Taxman) and enjoyed reading all the thoughtful responses. Lots of food for thought.

 

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #58 on: September 04, 2017, 02:30:22 AM »
I live by the below rules. It has worked for me for years

Spend some -because you need to enjoy life today
save some - in case of life's many emergencies
invest some -in case your ass lives to be old
give some away - for those who are less fortunate.

I really love this.  It's so simple, but makes so much sense.

Wife's parents made their kids do this with all money received, using jars.  She and her siblings still do this today. 

MidWestLove

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #59 on: September 04, 2017, 03:47:02 PM »
I thought whether to write or not, decided to - I cringed when I read the question and also when I read many of the postings so full of judgement.  The whole charity as in  write a check and buy and indulgence  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indulgence) which somehow makes you the person to judge others approach just sits wrong with me.

if you want to be charitable - act!
There are kids going to schools within 20 minutes of you that need mentors and role models, today!
There is a neighboring women's shelter for abused and endangered spouses that would love your help right now (and old cell phones), not the credit card number.
There are elderly that would love volunteer tax assistance and other help (even as simple as a ride to Walmart which they can not do)
There are new immigrants that would love to be helped in both English and getting settled
There are actual refugees escaping large portions of the world that need place to stay, something to eat, and someone to guide them
There are very low means and income people right around you, no matter where you live that need help
There are habitat for humanity building a house near you that you can help with
Now , if you can not do any of this and help people directly, it is ok - as others said put your own oxygen mask first.
If you can get, what goes around comes around, and pass it forward when possible.
in no case, doing it or not doing it, or doing some of it, gives you any grounds to look down, look up, look sideways on others who do or don't...  There is more than one way to help, there are infinite ways to help out.



"Is anyone else bothered by how people only want to help locally and say things like, "We have to help ourselves first before others!" I've always thought this was pretty twisted..."

this phrase of 'twisted' smacks of judgement and attitude ...
 
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 03:49:09 PM by MidWestLove »

neverrun

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #60 on: September 04, 2017, 07:40:26 PM »
I thought whether to write or not, decided to - I cringed when I read the question and also when I read many of the postings so full of judgement.  The whole charity as in  write a check and buy and indulgence  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indulgence) which somehow makes you the person to judge others approach just sits wrong with me.

if you want to be charitable - act!
There are kids going to schools within 20 minutes of you that need mentors and role models, today!
There is a neighboring women's shelter for abused and endangered spouses that would love your help right now (and old cell phones), not the credit card number.
There are elderly that would love volunteer tax assistance and other help (even as simple as a ride to Walmart which they can not do)
There are new immigrants that would love to be helped in both English and getting settled
There are actual refugees escaping large portions of the world that need place to stay, something to eat, and someone to guide them
There are very low means and income people right around you, no matter where you live that need help
There are habitat for humanity building a house near you that you can help with
Now , if you can not do any of this and help people directly, it is ok - as others said put your own oxygen mask first.
If you can get, what goes around comes around, and pass it forward when possible.
in no case, doing it or not doing it, or doing some of it, gives you any grounds to look down, look up, look sideways on others who do or don't...  There is more than one way to help, there are infinite ways to help out.



"Is anyone else bothered by how people only want to help locally and say things like, "We have to help ourselves first before others!" I've always thought this was pretty twisted..."

this phrase of 'twisted' smacks of judgement and attitude ...

I give because I can't act.  I have a job that includes a ton of last minute business travel.  With the exception of giving old cell phones to the women's shelter, I cannot commit to any of your suggestions.  But I can give money to feeding America, the same place my parents give their time.  Giving money to charity = an indulgence talk about judgment and attitude. 

MidWestLove

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #61 on: September 04, 2017, 08:03:01 PM »
"I give because I can't act.  I have a job that includes a ton of last minute business travel. "

and I commend and praise you for that ! do something (even if it is a monetary donation). Now, on the next step for a lot of us - stop judging others ;). there are many ways to help, and mine (or yours, or next guy/gal) is only one of them - just because she/he does not give to your church/temple/mosque/charity/cause/whatever does not mean they are wrong/bad/evil/twisted.  live (fully) and let (others) live.

 

arebelspy

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Re: Disgusting question - donation to charities?
« Reply #62 on: September 12, 2017, 10:27:36 PM »
Phenomenal posts in this thread, dpc!

I couldn't agree more.

Anyone interested in this should read The Life You Can Save. Terrific book with lots of info like what dpc laid out. Definitely changed my thinking on a lot of things.
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