Author Topic: Question on continuing to work to fund charity  (Read 2192 times)

Heinz

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Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« on: January 10, 2018, 08:34:47 PM »
I live in the Washington DC area and there is a wonderful school the That provides fee tuion and also that provides a wonderful education for the most at-risk children.  I love the mission of the school and the accomplishments.  I want to help them and am struggling with how to align that with my personal goals.  I can continue to work at a job that pays $750k annually and sponsor several students or stop working and volunteer. I have never liked my career vocation (In IT, it is called work after all...) but also could continue to do the job to help children that have no chance otherwise.  Very conflicted, as I believe we should help others but after 35 years of work am very burned out. 

Has anyone faced a similar challenge. Thoughts on how to decide?  I do not need the income from the job and am 50 years old. 

skeptic

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2018, 11:39:03 PM »
This is an amazing question. I have wrestled with thoughts like this as well.

(does your IT job really pay 750k annually or is that a typo?)

This question seems a subset of "How much time/money/effort should we spend helping others, and how much on making ourselves happy?" There is obviously no right answer, and it's complicated by the fact that helping others can bring you joy as well... to a point.

In my own life, I do make a priority of helping others (in a community-wide sense, not just helping out friends/family) but I do it in the ways that align with my own interests and how I want to spend my time, not necessarily the most impactful.

I don't personally think it's a good idea to become a martyr... to essentially negate yourself in order to give to others. Ultimately you are trying to bring happiness to others (I assume), in the form of reaching their human potential through education. But if you rob yourself of happiness in the process, you are causing harm while doing good.

Obviously some level of sacrifice for others is worthwhile and noble... but where you draw the line is up to you. To me, working a job I seriously dislike and am burned out from in order to give money to the needy is more than I am willing to do. There are so many other ways to give back and to do good in the world. You mentioned one -- volunteering at the school -- and there are countless others.

Your story resonated with me because I was teaching after-school programs at a school for at-risk youth in Washington DC and I met their IT contractor, who wasn't volunteering but who gave them very low rates and worked extra unpaid hours because he believed in the mission, and that connection changed my life. Working together with that IT guy led to me being able to greatly expand the program and help a lot of young people.

I know you will find what works best for you. If it were me, I would quit that job tomorrow and explore ways to help those kids that don't involve being burned out at a job you don't like.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2018, 11:58:05 PM »
At your earning level, you will almost certainly be more helpful by working your job and donating the salary than you would be as a volunteer. There's only one of you as a volunteer, while $750k can pay quite a few teachers.

That said, if you really can't stand your job anymore I don't think you need to feel obligated to do it indefinitely just because the money could do a bunch of good in the world. Try to find some sort of balance. Any chance you could negotiate a part-time arrangement at your job and see how that goes? Perhaps a bit of extra free time would help you feel some joy in it and also give you time to volunteer.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 01:03:36 AM »
Great question, and kudos to you for giving to others!

FWIW, I give a lot as well and enjoy doing so (financially, service-wise, career-wise: you name it).  This is also a challenge throughout the charitable world, where I have worked, because you see the real-world impact of your work and know that doing more of it can help more.  There is often no end to the needs.  There are severe workaholics in charities, especially for that reason.  It can be hard to assert necessary boundaries with work.

Here is how I process such things: I look at what's most important.  My first duty is to God, then my wife, then my larger family, then society. 
 
I don't sacrifice my mental, physical, or emotional health in order to give.  I give what I can, but sometimes what I can give may not meet a need that someone has, and that's OK.  As Jesus said: the poor shall be with you always.  You can never fill all of that need, or meet it.  It is not all on you. 

It's tougher for you because you know the impact you are having and know the school will feel a tangible loss if you quit sponsoring kids that way.  But you can't meet all needs, and it's not worth sacrificing yourself over to the point where you're dragged that far down. 

Also, knowing you give that much, I am going to assume here that you probably already have been agonizing over this a long while, and that, by this point, it has really dragged you down and you're at your wit's end about it.  In that case, I especially recommend that you take care of your own mental and emotional health first.  It is not selfish: you will still give as much of yourself as you can.  And what you have to give is enough.  (Because there's never an "enough" to give that can satisfy the need.)  You're not responsible for giving amounts that are unhealthy for you to give, and shouldn't feel guilty (though feelings can happen even when irrational) about taking care of what's most important first: your own health/sanity, your spouse, and your family.   

Suzanne

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 01:32:29 AM »
Hey Heinz,
Good work that you poses social responsibility.
I do some charity organised by my mates through community program.

Heinz

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 05:03:07 AM »
A little more color (and the all-in job pay is $750k for base salary, stock and bonus). 
1). I am 51
2). Oldest child senior in high school; youngest in middle school.  Have money set aside for each for college, graduate school.
3). Wife wants to keep working until youngest child is out of college (we are same age); she makes the same amount as me and has a pension that continues to accrue benefits.  Full retirement is 8 years for her for pension purposes. 
4). She is okay if I stop working, but we both worry about what I would do with free time.  I have worked since I was 15, and know no other lifestyle. 
5). We sponsor two children to this school now, cost is about $20k/year each.  We will continue to pay for these children to complete their education regardless of my decision. 
6). I would like to help the school more hands-on, but those IT days for me are far in the rear view mirror...
Thank you all. 

Chuck Ditallin

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2018, 05:24:49 AM »
Kudos for your generosity.

I would be retired so quickly that you wouldn't see me for dust (I too am burned out, so this is my plan), but...

every $500k invested in a charitable endowment of some sort would fund a child for $20k a year in perpetuity. Is this an option you could investigate? Would it add more meaning to your continuing work?

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2018, 08:24:28 AM »
Iím confused as to how this is a dilemma? Youíre obviously beyond wealthy if you and the wife make $1.5m annually. Retire yesterday if youíre over work. You could still volunteer and donate some of your wifeís money or some of your dividends as long as your own needs are covered and Iím not sure how theyíre not?  If youíre really struggling with this, you could have a final year charity mission. Donate your entire salary for 1 year and then also participate in a series of fundraisers for the school for that one year and try to set a goal of matching your salary donation. Get your friends involved, tell them youíre on a quest to raise $1m for the school in a year. I donít dude, youíre super well off, you can do anything.

ixtap

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2018, 08:29:41 AM »
Have you looked into setting up an endowment?

Sibley

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2018, 10:57:47 AM »
I'd say set up an endowment, fund it sufficiently to provide sponsorship for however many students you deem appropriate, then retire and do other stuff.

What do to with your time? Take over household work, organization - cleaning, cooking, yard work, setting up/managing appts, etc. (All the stuff that women typically do that is so easily overlooked until it's not being done.) Throw in some volunteer work, time being a dad, and I'm guessing that you'll be busier than ever.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2018, 03:11:10 PM »
@sol , am I going crazy or you do have similar intentions?

Heinz

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 06:00:56 PM »
I appreciate the thoughts on the endowment; i think that is a great idea.  It will take some more time in the work force, but once you have enough to retire it sure changes your outlook.  thank you all. 

sol

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Re: Question on continuing to work to fund charity
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2018, 07:09:13 PM »
@sol , am I going crazy or you do have similar intentions?

My means are more modest, but yes I'm working past my retirement date for the purpose of funding charitable donations.  One previous discussion of this topic is here:  https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/'one-more-year'-strikes-the-rich-the-hardest/