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Regrets after ER re Charity?
Old 03-18-2013, 07:51 PM   #1
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Regrets after ER re Charity?

Sorry if this has been discussed before, but recent conversations with local ER crowd raised this interesting issue. One person said they regretted ER because they now realize they cannot do enough volunteer w#rk to match $$$$ they could have donated if they stayed on at their specialized lucrative j#b while LBYM.
Anyone regret not staying in their high-paying j#b well beyond FI for the sole purpose of generating more $$ for fav charities?
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:08 PM   #2
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Really? That person sounds like a guy saying he regrets going to the Olympics because the stable of women he was dating is pining since he's gone into training. Either that or the person is just plain the holiest bestest person there ever could be. Didn't Mother Theresa regret doing charitable work because she could have made and contributed vast bucks as a mystery writer? maybe that was someone else....
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:18 PM   #3
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We have some regrets even though DW volunteers nearly full time at one of the outreach programs. Our church is very active in the mission field as well as local outreach to recovering addicts and alcoholics as well as to abused women so there is always more needs than $$$. In the past, pre RE, we were always able to make extra contributions when programs were running short. I'm not sure I would return to w*rk just so that we could contribute more but it is something we are really concerned about and something we did not really look at prior to RE (and we should have)
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:22 PM   #4
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Seems a bit far-fetched to me; or at least rather unusual.

When one is retired, one typically has a lot more time available for hands-on volunteering: which in my experience is a lot more fulfilling than simply writing a cheque (of any size).
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:25 PM   #5
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there is always more needs than $$$.
The needs of any charity or other social program will always be infinite. But your lifespan is not.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:29 PM   #6
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One person said they regretted ER because they now realize they cannot do enough volunteer w#rk to match $$$$ they could have donated if they stayed on at their specialized lucrative j#b while LBYM.
I'm just not that altruistic, but the sentiment makes sense. It's true, for instance, that the proceeds from one day of work for many of us could feed a family in the developing world for a few months. And it's also true that donating money (say, to build a clinic in a less developed country) makes a lot more sense than flying down there to stack blocks yourself to help build that clinic (just donate your pay for one day of work and they can hire 20 locals to do the same thing faster and better, and they'll greatly appreciate the earnings. Then add in the airfare you would have spent, your lodging costs, etc. If you look at things just right, going down there to stack those blocks yourself is downright selfish!).
On the other hand:
- By this logic we'll never quit working. Healthy days are the single most precious resource any of us have: how many are we obligated to give away?
- Why assume the person who takes my high-paying position won't donate to charities just as I did?
- Maybe the best use of my time is to mentor others so they can be more productive (and earn more)themselves, allowing many people to donate more to charity than I could do yourself.

Two quotes from Heinlein:
Quote:
Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil.

If tempted by something that feels "altruistic," examine your motives and root out that self-deception. Then, if you still want to do it, wallow in it!
If working so that we can give to charity brings us more joy than any other use of that time, it makes sense. Otherwise--not so much.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:31 PM   #7
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I would never be so attached to a cause that I would delay ER to donate to it. In my later years I do hope to do some significant charitable giving, but (perhaps selfishly) I feel that I must look after #1.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:30 PM   #8
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And it's also true that donating money (say, to build a clinic in a less developed country) makes a lot more sense than flying down there to stack blocks yourself to help build that clinic
This may be true, but you'll meet way fewer girls this way.

Ha
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:22 PM   #9
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Isn't that what RE is all about. Foregoing income from salary or business and living on your savings and other assets? Surely they knew how much they had to live on and this includes any amount budgeted as a charitable donation. Seems me me they did not plan properly before taking the RE plunge.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:26 PM   #10
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....Anyone regret not staying in their high-paying j#b well beyond FI for the sole purpose of generating more $$ for fav charities?
NFW.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:42 PM   #11
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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.

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Old 03-18-2013, 10:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ERhoosier View Post
Sorry if this has been discussed before, but recent conversations with local ER crowd raised this interesting issue. One person said they regretted ER because they now realize they cannot do enough volunteer w#rk to match $$$$ they could have donated if they stayed on at their specialized lucrative j#b while LBYM.
Anyone regret not staying in their high-paying j#b well beyond FI for the sole purpose of generating more $$ for fav charities?
Nope. In the past, I had $$$ to assist charities. Now I have TIME to assist charities.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:36 PM   #13
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.......If working so that we can give to charity brings us more joy than any other use of that time, it makes sense. Otherwise--not so much.
Raises the old altrusim = egosim debate. It has raged since late 1800's when Comte 1st coined the term "altruism". To many, (inc me), the debate is purely academic. Helping others is positive for humanity, whether we do it to make ourselves feel good or not.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:45 PM   #14
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No regrets. I still donate money, but I also have more time now to donate my expertise/experience. I also now get to donate time to myself and to my family, speaking of which, I did precious little before ER. I am supposing the subject in OP's local ER crowd is being pressured to donate more money to some organization or another, but now cannot, thus the guilty feelings. If so, I would no longer be donating to said organization at all. FWIW...YMMV

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:09 AM   #15
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No regrets when I retire. We figure our giving based on a percentage of income and not an absolute amount. We've given a lot with a high income so we expect that will balance of our lesser amount we I retire.

One can also set aside a portion of one's estate to those charities in the will, so that also helps eliminate any regrets for us.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:26 AM   #16
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I can't give to charity like I did before when I was working, especially as a young retiree. Although at death I hope to bequeath some and I hope to be able to help more when I am older and not as worried about my money lasting.

Since I live abroad in a poorer country (Philippines), I have found different ways to help people. These are things that I just could not do before.

Regarding different kinds of opportunities, I got someone's teeth here fixed at my First World dentist who had never visited the dentist in their life. I am good at interfacing with and finding competent local professionals, so I figure that is some value add (in addition to my money, of course). It ended up taking about a dozen visits.

In another case, I knew someone with a lifetime of stomach problems and was able to get them completely fixed forever (required a proper diagnosis and a course of medicine to let the stomach and esophagus heal and then a change in diet along with ruling out some other things). Many poor people simply don't know what to do or can't even afford to figure out what is actually wrong with them. They will live with these conditions as if they are a normal part of life. Another advantage here is the medical care is so cheap and quite decent. For instance, an ultrasound to rule out gall stones as a cause of pain (ultrasound HBT test) was about $20. In both these cases, it was me interfacing with the doctors alongside the patient, it was a bit too much for the patient to fully understand. I would re-explain everything to them later in more laymen's language.

I agree with the poster above who said it is often more useful to give money rather than personally volunteer abroad. I passed on one volunteer opportunity here recently because I judged it to be more of a feel good volunteer opportunity rather than actually helping, even though the organization is inherently good, what they really need are more doctors and not more foreigners to stand around organizing things. I have tried to get a relative who is a GP in the USA to come here for a couple of weeks and I would help organize all his activities in advance to maximize his usefulness.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:19 AM   #17
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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.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:51 AM   #18
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I wish I could give more to charities. However, I am not ER'd yet so I can give significant amounts. Two years ago it was $20,000+ in donations, I guess. This year about $15,000. Once I FIRE, it is likely I will give a lot of time to charitable work, especially more time spent at free clinics here and abroad.

My only regret is not to be able to give more time.

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Originally Posted by ERhoosier View Post
Sorry if this has been discussed before, but recent conversations with local ER crowd raised this interesting issue. One person said they regretted ER because they now realize they cannot do enough volunteer w#rk to match $$$$ they could have donated if they stayed on at their specialized lucrative j#b while LBYM.
Anyone regret not staying in their high-paying j#b well beyond FI for the sole purpose of generating more $$ for fav charities?
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:27 AM   #19
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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 don't think they work that way, do they?

I think I've read that a CRT is required to distribute 5% of its assets each year. So if their investment returns are less than 5%, that distribution will drop each year.

Even if it is as you say, with no inflation adjustment, 5% won't be much in a few decades. But I can't imagine how a trust could guarantee 5% for life, and count on anything left for the charity, unless the donor was very old.

If you have info to the contrary, pls provide a link. I think quite a few people would be interested.

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Old 03-20-2013, 10:14 AM   #20
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This is something we think about. We give 10%+ of our income to charities. Time donated is good too, but they also need real money. Time doesn't pay electric bills. If we based our contribution on spending, it wouldn't be much.

Assuming we execute our plan (retire in 2018), we'll have to give a warning. Our contribution to one charity is significant for them. I'm also considering "buffering" our donation by holding back 2 years before and adding more after ER for 2 years. Don't know yet.

If I accidentally ER (layoff or buy out), then they'll just have to suck it up. Can't plan for everything.

So, yeah, I think about it, but it doesn't override my decisions of ER.
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