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Old 03-20-2013, 10:31 AM   #21
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Of course you could donate most of your assets to a charitable remainder trust and enjoy a minimum 5% income for the rest of your life.
I like your way of thinking!!!
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:34 AM   #22
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Don't know about others, but that's a level of selflessness that I could only aspire to...I failed that test. Though if real returns are near (historical) averages or better, our favorite charities will appreciate us even more when we go poof.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:48 AM   #23
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The needs of any charity or other social program will always be infinite. But your lifespan is not.
You nailed it!
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:13 PM   #24
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Without kids, I guess I treat charities like my kids some days. At least we have that extra cash to use instead of college, etc.

I'll admit that some days I look at the opportunity cost of the donations to my retirement. I'm no saint. At the same time, though, we are near complete F.I. so it has worked out.

Finally, it is nice to see the money being used today, while I'm living. Without kids, we'll likely give a lot away to charities some day anyway. (In the process of reworking our wills.) But nice to see it "in action" now.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:23 PM   #25
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We are not giving as much as we have in the past but we have rationalized our giving.

We took some time, with the help of an annual review that is published about charities in our country (financials, ie percent admin, percent that really gets to where it should, salary level of the execs, etc).

We have very much changed our giving patterns. We want our dollars to be as effective as possible. We increased some givings and eliminated others.

We want our money to work hard for those who need it. We were very much surprised at some of the charites that we previously supported-pleasantly and unpleasantly. We don't believe in rewarding those groups who are poorly managed, have high overheads or are inefficient-no matter how good the cause is.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:42 PM   #26
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Granted, one is philanthropic (donating) while the other is self serving (buying stuff), but if you'll bare with the analogy.

We work many, many decades accumulating $$$ so we can buy more stuff. At some point we decide that there is no limit to the amount of $$$ we can spend on buying stuff, so we decide to cap our buying to what we deem comfortable so that we can retire and enjoy ourselves.

The same paragraph can be written for donating:

We work many, many decades accumulating $$$ so we can donate more. At some point we decide that there is no limit to the amount of $$$ we can donate, so we decide to cap our donating to what we deem comfortable so that we can retire and enjoy ourselves.

In both cases, if we don't set a healthy limit - we can enslave ourselves to a j*b; sacrificing our retirement to continue contributing to said spending habits (donating or buying). Sure, pain and suffering at a j*b to provide more to a charity feels like a more reasonable sacrifice, but it doesn't change the fact that money is still holding you hostage from enjoying more out of life.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:54 PM   #27
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Personally I like to sent a donating range to represent a percentage of my yearly income. When I retire, it'll then become a percentage of my yearly spending. That way I won't strive to donate a fixed amount, but rather a fixed percentage of my budget. Then my 'sacrifice' index stays happy... no matter how my spending fluctuates.

That is, I'd feel just as gratified donating $50,000 of a $500,000 income... as I would donating $10,000 of a $100,000 retirement budget. It's all relative, right?
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:09 PM   #28
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Personally I like to sent a donating range to represent a percentage of my yearly income. When I retire, it'll then become a percentage of my yearly spending. That way I won't strive to donate a fixed amount, but rather a fixed percentage of my budget. Then my 'sacrifice' index stays happy... no matter how my spending fluctuates.

That is, I'd feel just as gratified donating $50,000 of a $500,000 income... as I would donating $10,000 of a $100,000 retirement budget. It's all relative, right?
We'll probably just use our IRS AGI number when we retire as a guideline. We have all that deferred (which I didn't consider as income before) coming back later.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:23 PM   #29
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Agree with brett that efficiency of giving is HUGE issue these days. Just amazing to me that many consider a 20-25% overhead as an 'efficient' charity. I try to give to ones that apply 90+% of donations in actual service of worthy cause.

I see the logic in EvrClrx's view. Without deciding to stop at some personal level of wealth accumulation (inc qualified pension here as 'wealth'), we could all become slaves to $$$$ &/or the j#b. Many VERY wealthy folks profess to continue w#rking in business NOT to make more $$, but because they either enjoy it or don't know what else they might do with their time. For them I think the j#b has become their recreation.....or their life. Good for them....or perhaps not
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:27 PM   #30
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It is really important to check on your charities. There are way too many out there with very well paid staff that don't "get dirty" out in the field of service. Yes, we must do our homework on this. So, yeah, I'm heartily agreeing on that.

Amazing how many people see "non-profit" and think a bunch of saints are running the place. "non-profit" does not always equal "good."
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:09 PM   #31
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I think we all do and give what feels right to us and what is possible financially. And that's just fine.

I ER'd because the stress was killing me. I traded that for less income but a much better quality of life. I'm hoping it's longer, as well, because I know I couldn't stay there another day.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:37 AM   #32
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Oddly, we have found that we donate as much or MORE now that we are FIRE'd. Even though our "other" expenses are higher, it seems we have the assets/income to do more. Perhaps we "over saved" or our results have been better than expected. I will admit the thought occurred to me that FIREing might limit our ability to continue donating to favorite charities. Since it hasn't turned out that way, it is a real plus. Admittedly, had I "stayed on", I would most likely been able to donate more than I do now.

I understand that not all of us receive the same level of joy by contributing money. Many of us prefer to donate time and skills (time, I have. Skills, not so much.)

Someone mentioned donating money rather than traveling to a location to "help". I absolutely agree with this sentiment - with one exception: I believe travel to a location can insure that the "work" or "mission" of the remote location is done efficiently and meets the stated goals. Therefore, I have aligned my self with a group of individuals (in this case, my church) which will on occasion "visit" missions to "help" but also to evaluate. I DO believe this a valuable use of precious resources as long as it doesn't become the only contribution to the work.

This is a subject close to my heart. I believe I have been blessed in order to be a blessing to others. Not everyone is "called" in this way. Others are called to "w*rk" in the field. Fulfilling one's calling is, IMO, the most rewarding human experience. Naturally, YMMV.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:49 AM   #33
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My charitable donations haven't really changed from before/after retirement. I tend to look at them as a % of what I spend, rather than my income. And defining 'income' is a bit fuzzy in retirement, well, I guess it's fuzzy while working also - do you include unrealized gains?

DW does some volunteering, she's better at that than I am, so I 'support' her in that.

-ERD50
DH was a minister before his 28 years with Megacorp. Now, post-ER, he volunteers in ministries where he can do the parts of pastoring he enjoys. He is quite busy. While I encourage him in this, I'm not volunteering much myself. (So much of a teaching career is done "gratis," with ad hoc social work along the way.) I'm still too tired, with too many books calling out to me....
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:48 PM   #34
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Like Koolau, we are donating either roughly the same or slightly more than we did before ER, as we planned our budget to include that level of giving (significantly more than 10% of our current income or spending). And we give more time as well.

Interestingly, after 2.5 years of the same mix of volunteer activities, I am finding that they are less satisfying than when I started out. Very much like my pattern in the w*rkplace where I found my assignments much less interesting / satisfying after 2.5-3.5 years and was ready for a change. Had no idea it would happen in retirement also. As I have 3 more years on one board and probably 4 more years on a committee in another organization, I will need to budget my energy and find ways to keep my interest level high. As a symptom, I'm right now procrastinating about finishing up some committee member assignments by posting here
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:41 PM   #35
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I cannot give as much to charity now as I could a few years ago. But that was not a factor when I considered ER. And although I cannot give as much money, I can give more time.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:00 PM   #36
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It is really important to check on your charities. There are way too many out there with very well paid staff that don't "get dirty" out in the field of service. Yes, we must do our homework on this. So, yeah, I'm heartily agreeing on that.

Amazing how many people see "non-profit" and think a bunch of saints are running the place. "non-profit" does not always equal "good."
+1

Too often "not-for-profit" just seems to mean they empty the accounts at year end top avoid payin' taxes
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:52 PM   #37
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+1

Too often "not-for-profit" just seems to mean they empty the accounts at year end top avoid payin' taxes
+2
I've heard of so many charities where only token amounts actually end up with the so called beneficiaries. 99.9% of the money donated goes to paying the fat-cat administrators salaries, airfares, hotels and other perks.
They are money making schemes a bit like some of the unscrupulous TV evangelists
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:36 AM   #38
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This reminds me once of something the pastor said at my church many years ago, paraphrased here:

"Last Sunday we asked for volunteers for our efforts to help the local poor with their housing. We asked the volunteers to identify themselves as skilled labor or unskilled labor, and we would put them to tasks accordingly. It has come to my attention that many have said they don't know whether they are skilled labor or not and have asked for a definition. My definition is this: If you have to ask whether you are skilled labor, you are not skilled labor." Of course, the congregation burst out laughing at that point.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:42 PM   #39
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+2
I've heard of so many charities where only token amounts actually end up with the so called beneficiaries. 99.9% of the money donated goes to paying the fat-cat administrators salaries, airfares, hotels and other perks.
They are money making schemes a bit like some of the unscrupulous TV evangelists
I agree. That is why I would suggest to anyone contemplating a significant donation that they check out the charity. There are at least two relatively effective ways to do this (probably more.) There are official sites one can go to learn what % of a charity's funds go to the "end user". All of the relatively large(er) charities are represented at these sites. Sorry I don't have a url, but someone will chime in. I've already done THAT research on the relatively few large charities we support.

The second way to go (and better in my opinion) is to check out the relatively small(er) charities yourself or send a representative to check it out. This is relatively easy for so-called "church supported" charities. There are literally thousands of such charities under the umbrella of various church hierarchies (or better yet - again, my opinion - independent churches). I know too that various "organized" and smaller clubs who have similar relationships with charities. So, if one is actually interested in supporting a "good (efficient) charity", there is no longer any impediment to finding one for which due-diligence has already been done. Or go see the charity yourself and do the diligence yourself. Then report back to your particular "organization". YMMV
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:01 PM   #40
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DW and I are our favorite charities. We're no saints either.

We deserve to eat just as much as the homeless guy on the corner. And we're being charitable to ourselves by trying to ER so someone who really wants our j*bs and needs them can have it.

Hopefully, in doing some things we love to do after ER, and not just for the money, we'll serve the world better. At the very least, we'll have smiles on our faces more often !
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