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View Poll Results: What percentage of your TAKE HOME pay do you give as charity and gifts?
Less than 2% 40 45.98%
2% to 4% 20 22.99%
4% to 6% 8 9.20%
6% to 8% 5 5.75%
8% to 10% 6 6.90%
Greater than 10% 8 9.20%
Voters: 87. You may not vote on this poll

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Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-23-2007, 09:09 PM   #1
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Poll: How much do you give?

One of my first posts to this forum lamented the fact that my upcoming retirement budget would be enough to live off but wouldn't be enough to provide the luxuries I have become accustomed to. Some of you suggested that I take a very critical view of what I spend my money on. I did and came to the realization that I am currently contributing or gifting about 18 to 20% of my take home income to my church, to charities and to my kids and other relatives.

I was wondering how I compare with the population on this Board. How do most of you handle contributions - particularly church contributions which the Christian Church stipulates should comprise 10% of your income?

By the way, my solution to the tight budget is that I will probably get a part-time job.

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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-23-2007, 09:24 PM   #2
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

Scared,
I think you're on to something -- gifts (at least to those outside the family) are pretty key to keeping life's ebb and flow going, in my opinion. (I like David Bach's take on this -- there is some sort of mystical force at work when we give -- kinda like aspirin (my metaphor, not his) , we may not understand it but we know it works )

Gifts inside the family are another matter, as that is almost in the category of estate planning, but of course everyone's situation is different. My kids are still at home so the point is moot for me.

I never thought of it this way, but my part time work income is also about the same as my charitable giving, so maybe I'm doing that, too, as a way to make the budget work. But I don't think charitable giving is optional, certainly if you are an active member of a church.

Still there are lots of ways to give, and while cash is always nice, it isn't the only way. In ER you have lots more time, so you can give some of that to organizations you care about.

If your part time work income is earmarked for giving, you may find you come up with some nice ways to earn that money and have a good time doing it. The aspirin principle again?
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-23-2007, 09:29 PM   #3
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

In our case, family has become our only charity! Maybe when things settle down a bit we'll be able to gift more to non-family causes.

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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-23-2007, 09:36 PM   #4
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

To Audrey's point -- I will say that in ER all our charitable giving is very focused on organizations we know and work with -- local orgs where we are involved with the board, the director, the participants. It makes a big difference and never feels like a sacrifice -- it's just helping advance something you've become involved with and know needs a little help.

So by that definition, family as charitable recipients fits perfectly!

I'm not sure if I could ever go back (it's been a very long time) to the mode of writing checks for appeals for vague noble sounding causes that come in the mail.
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-23-2007, 09:51 PM   #5
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

I've been giving $2000 a year for a while.

That is now about 8% of income.

I believe in tithing, I don't believe in religion.
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-23-2007, 10:07 PM   #6
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

< 2%....UNLESS....you believe (like me) that "charity begins at home".....in which case I would have to vote for an option not shown.....> 98%

I am my favorite charity!!!
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-23-2007, 10:17 PM   #7
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

Too much emphasis is given to giving money. I give very little money to charities, and get very little satisfaction when I just write a check to a charity.

I find that giving my time and my efforts to a good cause gives me greater satisfaction. So I think more in terms of how much of my time I give to charity instead of how much of my money I give to charity.
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-23-2007, 11:05 PM   #8
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

Can I count 50% of my taxes paid as charity?
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 12:03 AM   #9
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

We cut back to three charities. We gave up on United Way because of all the abuse. The Megacorp I work for no longer uses them as the sole provider. And a lot of the other charities just kept bugging us for money so I wrote most of them off. We give about 2% or so but we get matching funds.
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 06:57 AM   #10
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

Not nearly enough, cnsidering that we have started hitting the fat years. I know we need to open the purse strings, but it is hard after spending several years scraping.
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 07:58 AM   #11
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

Quote:
Originally Posted by retire@40
Too much emphasis is given to giving money. I give very little money to charities, and get very little satisfaction when I just write a check to a charity.

I find that giving my time and my efforts to a good cause gives me greater satisfaction. So I think more in terms of how much of my time I give to charity instead of how much of my money I give to charity.
Ditto. I give some cash to charities - primarily specific efforts I am interested in and want to see flourish. I also do a fair amount of volunteer work. I think the volunteer effort is more "valuable." The work is something I enjoy so it is not a sacrifice, but then, neither is writing a check.
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 08:13 AM   #12
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

Agreed -- time means more. One way to combine them is to give something you create to a charity to help it raise money. DW regularly does this -- she and a friend donated 'Catered Dinner for 8" to a local charity auction raising $ for local service organizations. Sold for $400+ Last weekend around 5pm they got together in the kitchen (I got drafted in as sous-chef), put together most of the stuff, 6:30 headed over to the house and started cooking. 7:30 I took my son and our friend's son over to be waiters (they get 'Community Service hours' a certain number of which are required to graduate from High School) and everybody had a great time. (And I got a few uninterrupted hours to post here!)

DW also donates several beading parties each year to school and other local fundraisers. People fish through plates and plates of her beads and assemble themselves a necklace or bracelet, and she strings them and puts the clasps on. Usually raise about $250 for 10 kids/participants, and is becoming a popular Ladies Night Out activity, too.

I've taken to donating the occasional commissioned sculpture to a favorite 'Re-entry into the Real-world training facility for people just out of long-term stints in prison'in Harlem. I just have the commissioner write their checks for the sculpting fee directly to the charity and because they aren't ER and are in a higher tax bracket, I tell them to raise the amount by 33% and everybody comes out ahead

All these are ways to get $ into an organization without ever writing a check -- you just give your time and direct other people's $ to the places that feel important to you.
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 10:03 AM   #13
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScaredtoQuit
How do most of you handle contributions - particularly church contributions which the Christian Church stipulates should comprise 10% of your income?
By the way, my solution to the tight budget is that I will probably get a part-time job.
If you're considering a part-time job, partly for the purpose of keeping up the tithe, then maybe it's time for a new church. I'd find it hard to believe that Megacorp Religion Inc. is as good a steward with our money as we are. It's even more odious to be "told" how much we should be giving as a basic membership fee.

Quote:
Originally Posted by retire@40
... and get very little satisfaction when I just write a check to a charity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
I know we need to open the purse strings, but it is hard after spending several years scraping.
Same here. I get more satisfaction out of helping people than out of helping a charity. Other than Habitat for Humanity, we just haven't found one that seems to be doing what we'd want to do...

And where is everyone finding their free time for charity work? I know, I know, you don't "find" the time, you "make the time". Admittedly this is an ER snivel, but the days seem plenty full right now!
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 10:32 AM   #14
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

Good post!! My husband (the minister) gives more than 10% of his 'salary' back to the church. I give about 3-4% of my salary, and a LOT of time. This is one of the reasons I love this board - I get so many good ideas/insights as to how to live/invest even though my dear husband thinks money is to be given away. As the major breadwinner in our family it is often difficult to balance his desire to do good with my desire to be FI before we are in a geriatric ward. I liked Nords' post about churchs and using the money wisely. At least I can say in my husband's small church, I feel good about where the money goes - except I would add they could pay my husband a decent living wage!! :P
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 10:34 AM   #15
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

Anyone other than me notice the strong correlation between those that give none/little and those that are the most determined/proficient at finding sources of charitable help if it turns out they need it themselves? The non-givers and the determined/proficient takers often seem to be the same people!
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 10:46 AM   #16
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
Anyone other than me notice the strong correlation between those that give none/little and those that are the most determined/proficient at finding sources of charitable help if it turns out they need it themselves? The non-givers and the determined/proficient takers often seem to be the same people!
You better keep me out of your sample for that one, lest I skew your results.

I loathe even being considered a charity receiver.

The only charity I received in my life was food, clothing, and shelter from my parents before I moved out on my own. And if you really want to consider that charity, then you may want to consider backing out all the financial support gifts I gave them (in the 10s of thousands) when I had lots of money and they had none.
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 10:57 AM   #17
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
Anyone other than me notice the strong correlation between those that give none/little and those that are the most determined/proficient at finding sources of charitable help if it turns out they need it themselves? The non-givers and the determined/proficient takers often seem to be the same people!
How did you notice that correlation? Do people tell you when they give or not give, and when they seek charity? I would love to see the data leading you to your "strong correlation".
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 10:59 AM   #18
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

$100/week to church = 9.x % of take home (after savings also), plus little nickle and dime stuff here and there. Catholic school does not count for the 5yr and 3yr old and is about $90/month. It is not a charity, it is a community, and the tithing helps it keep going.

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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 11:05 AM   #19
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

We aren't regular church-goers and have never donated large amounts of cash to other organizations. I would like to substantially increase our contributions now that we're more established financially and things have settled out from a recent move, as I've always felt we could be giving more.

The past few years I volunteered frequently at a really great nonprofit in San Diego where we used to live, and I know they appreciated my time a lot more than if I'd just written a check. However, it's a small organization struggling to do great things so additional money would be a huge benefit also. Now that I can't give them my time, they're first on the list for a monthly donation.

I feel discouraged to hear people commenting that they don't like to give money because they don't like how it will be spent. If that's a primary reason for holding back, I'd suggest taking some time to investigate some smaller non-profits in your area. It might be easier to see the good that they're doing than it is with the large national organzations.
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?
Old 01-24-2007, 11:10 AM   #20
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Re: Poll: How much do you give?

A few in above thread have noted desire to do more but challenge in identifying efficient charities for
desirable goals. We count ourselves among that group. A helpful resource we've found for browsing
charities by simlarity in purpose and comparing overall efficiency/effectiveness is Charity Navigator.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/

For what it's worth for those who haven't already found them.
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