Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
AviN
Posts: 478
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:14 am

Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by AviN »

From the blog post:
Mr. Money Mustache wrote:Since I hit my consumption ceiling a little earlier than a proper rich person, I have been thinking about [trying to find more efficient things to do with the surplus] for a number of years now. And if you care about trying to be logical when dealing with surplus money, your research will very quickly lead you to the Effective Altruism movement, and indeed I wrote about it as far back as 2012 with a review of Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save. As with most useful things I’ve learned in the last five years, it was readers of this blog who clued me in to the idea.
$55k of Mr. Money Mustache's donations were to charities recommended by GiveWell: http://www.givewell.org

Full post: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2016/10/ ... ay-100000/

Avi
User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 67173
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by LadyGeek »

To keep this actionable, what charities do you donate to?
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.
User avatar
ClevrChico
Posts: 1801
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by ClevrChico »

LadyGeek wrote:To keep this actionable, what charities do you donate to?
I serve on the board & volunteer for an animal charity dear to my heart. We've placed about 750 dogs into homes so far. It's a time commitment, but I think the most useful thing you can give is your time.

I've also worked as a volunteer for parades, Make a Wish, United Way, and a major research awards event. (Again, time commitment.)

Monetarily, it's small donations here and there. I'm always skeptical about throwing large sums of money at problems.
JoinToday
Posts: 910
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:59 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by JoinToday »

ClevrChico wrote:.......I'm always skeptical about throwing large sums of money at problems.
Charitable donations are something I struggle with (and may have mentioned in the past). We are now in a position to donate a little more money (not the big bucks, but more than what we did 10-20 years ago).

I would like to donate more to groups who actually facilitated change/improvement in people's lives, but recognize that change is difficult even in the best of circumstances.

If I donate to groups that just help people get by for another day, I worry that I would be enabling or encouraging similar behavior.

So what do I do? Donate to both types of groups, but pick smaller charities that I hope are run more efficiently (food for homeless/soup kitchen in downtown LA, gang intervention, pregnancy help center, mental health center, etc). I hope the money is being spent effectively, and hope the waste is minimized.
I wish I had learned about index funds 25 years ago
ThankYouJack
Posts: 3544
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:27 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by ThankYouJack »

That's cool, great for MMM. I don't donate that much, but I'm hoping to increase my donations, especially when I get closer to financial independence.

I have some friends who have started non-profits and don't take salaries so I donate to those. I also make a pledge/donation to my church, donate to a few organizations that I've been a part of, donate to friends who are raising money for different causes and donate small amounts locally to different groups.

Donating doesn't make me feel better about myself, I just figure I have enough and am in a fortunate situation to be able to give back to those less fortunate.
jpn
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:14 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by jpn »

I donate to a religious charity in my home country that focuses on education. I am not religious myself but they gave my dad lodging, meals and a first rate college education. Without that my dad (and consequently I) would not be where we are now. My grandfather was a farm laborer in a third world country. He was barely able to feed and clothe his kids.
lightheir
Posts: 2487
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by lightheir »

Just to put things in perspective if you plan do do something similar -

Mr Money Mustasche makes over $400k per year from advertisements on his websites alone. It's in a New Yorker article from earlier this year. Obviously he doesn't spend the vast majority of it given his thriftiness, but it does help to put the donation amount in perspective - his donating $100k when he's sitting on likely $2million+ in cash reserve is a less of a financial hit than someone donating $20k when they're sitting on <$50k cash reserve, for example.
Ender2030
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:48 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by Ender2030 »

We don't donate nearly that amount, but we do make regular contributions to Doctors Without Borders. I truly think the people who work for them are heroes and I am proud to support them in any way I can. All the charity rating companies also give the organization very high ratings.

I also give smaller amounts to the local NPR station because I listen to them all day long.
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 12797
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I'm very careful with who I donate to. I'm not happy with the big marketing groups who work with employers to peer pressure employees to donate from every paycheck, then pay their CEOs ten times what I make, then distribute money to actual charities who then have their own overhead.

I've donated to our local Salvation Army shelter. Not only is the organization built around lower cost but donating locally helps to reduce erosion of my donation by bloated top management.

Another is a scholarship fund run completely by volunteers with 100% of donations going to students. I benefited from a small scholarship from this organization, so wanted to give back. I've given back more than I originally received many times over.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
Dottie57
Posts: 9315
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm
Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by Dottie57 »

Look at the givewell site listed in the original post. It has charities which provide very basic health care. These seem very worthwhile charities and help desperately poor areas of the globe.

My employer supports charitable giving through payroll deductions and a matching amount. It lets me have a yearly charitable deduction decision and I give more .
gd
Posts: 1638
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:35 am
Location: MA, USA

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by gd »

lightheir wrote:Just to put things in perspective if you plan do do something similar -

Mr Money Mustasche makes over $400k per year from advertisements on his websites alone. It's in a New Yorker article from earlier this year. Obviously he doesn't spend the vast majority of it given his thriftiness, but it does help to put the donation amount in perspective - his donating $100k when he's sitting on likely $2million+ in cash reserve is a less of a financial hit than someone donating $20k when they're sitting on <$50k cash reserve, for example.
And to put *that* in perspective, it still puts him far, far beyond just about everyone else on the planet. Really, sometimes it's just better to bite your tongue and move on.
Snowjob
Posts: 1634
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:53 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by Snowjob »

gd wrote:
lightheir wrote:Just to put things in perspective if you plan do do something similar -

Mr Money Mustasche makes over $400k per year from advertisements on his websites alone. It's in a New Yorker article from earlier this year. Obviously he doesn't spend the vast majority of it given his thriftiness, but it does help to put the donation amount in perspective - his donating $100k when he's sitting on likely $2million+ in cash reserve is a less of a financial hit than someone donating $20k when they're sitting on <$50k cash reserve, for example.
And to put *that* in perspective, it still puts him far, far beyond just about everyone else on the planet. Really, sometimes it's just better to bite your tongue and move on.
Well on a pure asset ratio basis using your 2M cash reserver the comparison is really the same as someone donating 2,500 bucks vs 50k of cash assets. and of course the less you have the more important those dollars are. Oh well good for him he's donating something. The 400k in advertising revenue is quite a revelation. I knew he made money on the blog but that figure is astounding.
User avatar
White Coat Investor
Posts: 14947
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Greatest Snow On Earth

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by White Coat Investor »

lightheir wrote:Just to put things in perspective if you plan do do something similar -

Mr Money Mustasche makes over $400k per year from advertisements on his websites alone. It's in a New Yorker article from earlier this year. Obviously he doesn't spend the vast majority of it given his thriftiness, but it does help to put the donation amount in perspective - his donating $100k when he's sitting on likely $2million+ in cash reserve is a less of a financial hit than someone donating $20k when they're sitting on <$50k cash reserve, for example.
Lots of people on this board making $400K who aren't giving 10% of it to charity, much less 25%. I say well done. Not only is he giving to charity, but he is encouraging others to also do it and do it well.

By the way, given the amount of traffic his site receives if he got serious about it he could be making $4 Million with that site. Same with this site. Be sure to thank the Boglehead site owners as they are leaving a tremendous amount of cash on the table by keeping the content here ad-free.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
User avatar
SmileyFace
Posts: 6001
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by SmileyFace »

We focus most of our charitable contributions to our LOCAL community: Local Animal Shelter (Donate and Volunteer), Local Food Bank (Donate and Volunteer), Local Battered Women's Shelter (Donate), and Church-collection outreach charities.
Additionally - we do donate $50 every-time a friend or co-worker is collecting for something (usually through a road-race/bike-thing/what-not - these range quite a bit in various charities).
Da5id
Posts: 2227
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:20 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by Da5id »

lightheir wrote:Just to put things in perspective if you plan do do something similar -

Mr Money Mustasche makes over $400k per year from advertisements on his websites alone. It's in a New Yorker article from earlier this year. Obviously he doesn't spend the vast majority of it given his thriftiness, but it does help to put the donation amount in perspective - his donating $100k when he's sitting on likely $2million+ in cash reserve is a less of a financial hit than someone donating $20k when they're sitting on <$50k cash reserve, for example.
I have my issues with MMM, but really, of the things to pick on him for, this seems bizarre. I skimmed the article, seemed well written and helpful.

For the personal side, I give to our temple, WWF (wildlife, not wrestling), my grad school, American Cancer Society (some years), and Big Brother/Big Sister (mostly clothing donations), and other random things on a non-recurring basis. Whenever any neighborhood kid or friend is doing something charitable (walk or bike for hunger/cancer/etc) we throw in some money too.
J295
Posts: 2718
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:40 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by J295 »

We were fortunate to be around parents and peers who donated time, talent, and treasure, so we have done the same over the years.

On the time/talent side, I made a conscious choice when I went to mostly retired at age 53 to get out of the (clean and comfortable) board rooms and into the (quite exciting) trenches. As a professional I had served on many boards and went to a fair share of "fancy events." Now, I'm the feet on the ground for many of these same organizations. For example, I am a former hospital board chair who now distributes Communion to patients; I'm a former Diocesan board member who now makes house calls to community members in immediate need (pending eviction, utility shut off, etc.) through St. Vincent dePaul, etc. ... you get the idea.

My wonderful wife does the same types of things, but she is willing and "better" at giving away treasure, so we have a Donor Advised Fund that she implements on our behalf to make financial contributions. I got a notice the other day that we'd given $XXX to one of our daughter's friends who is working in a third world country .... I love it when there is something direct like this rather than institutional/bricks and mortar -- just my personal preference, as we certainly need bricks and mortar (trust me we've been involved in our share of capital campaigns over the years).
User avatar
JDCarpenter
Posts: 1479
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:42 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by JDCarpenter »

We have shifted almost all of our giving to givewell reviewed/recommended charities.

Gave enough over years to our educational institutions to m/l pay back scholarships; don't feel that the money goes as far there or at local charities as the thirdworld efforts we find through givewell.

(Still have local healthcare charity/clinic and foodbank on our priority list though.)
Edit Signature
Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 23133
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

I prefer to send my contributions to organizations with low to no overhead. The local food bank (their overhead is 4%, that is pretty low), our local Salvation Army shelter, Lustgarten Foundation - no overhead, it's being picked up by Cablevision foundation, local religious charity - they do alot of good with the little they have, PBS - Public Broadcasting Service - they provide a useful service for the community at large and I like Big Bird. :)
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
WhyNotUs
Posts: 1779
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:38 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by WhyNotUs »

My spouse is better at national/international causes and I trend toward local arts, education, and food. Since I always seem to be on one or more NPO board, I am more aware of local needs while she has the big picture. Seems to work pretty well.

While effectiveness is hard to measure for many activities, I like how some of these review site put the pressure to keep overhead low and make CEO salaries transparent.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX
nordsteve
Posts: 808
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:23 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by nordsteve »

We donate small amounts to a variety of local arts organizations, and larger chunks to local social service nonprofits where I am familiar with their track record and efficiency. I also make substantial contributions to the STEM leadership program FIRST, as payback for programs I participated in when I was young that led to a fulfilling STEM career.

My employer matches donations up to a cumulative total of $15,000 a year (either matching cash donations or volunteering), and I strive to top it out each year.

I thought the MMM post was particularly honest, both about the amount of money his blog generates, and his journey to making large contributions.
lhl12
Posts: 660
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 8:24 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by lhl12 »

Are there any charitable organizations that Bogleheads are familiar with that focus on financial literacy? I know that the Bogleheads foundation itself does that but I was wondering if there are any others that go out into schools or sponsor programs to help educate people in basic financial literacy.
lightheir
Posts: 2487
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by lightheir »

gd wrote:
lightheir wrote:Just to put things in perspective if you plan do do something similar -

Mr Money Mustasche makes over $400k per year from advertisements on his websites alone. It's in a New Yorker article from earlier this year. Obviously he doesn't spend the vast majority of it given his thriftiness, but it does help to put the donation amount in perspective - his donating $100k when he's sitting on likely $2million+ in cash reserve is a less of a financial hit than someone donating $20k when they're sitting on <$50k cash reserve, for example.
And to put *that* in perspective, it still puts him far, far beyond just about everyone else on the planet. Really, sometimes it's just better to bite your tongue and move on.
I disagree. A public $400k contribution, while certainly commendable, has plenty of upside for him. In fact, I'll bet a capitalist could very well argue it will ultimately HELP his bottom line in the long run given the public attention.

When you get to contributions on the scale of Zuckerbergs, who have so much money they and 10 generations wouldn't be able to spend it, the reality it's ALL upside for them. They get an enormous tax writeoff on spending money that they would have contributed anyway (they have so much left over, what else are they going to do with it),and as well, they get the huge benefits accrued to their good name.

It's why I view the Warren Buffet 50% billionaire challenge extremely skeptically, and I'm just trying to see it objectively, not as a cynic.

I actually believe Mr. Money Mustasche is donating with all good intentions, and at least, with far, far better intentions than 99%, but the cynical side of me does ask why it happens now, and hasn't been donating to causes on all along as her clearly can afford it.
Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 23133
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

lightheir wrote:Just to put things in perspective if you plan do do something similar -

Mr Money Mustasche makes over $400k per year from advertisements on his websites alone. It's in a New Yorker article from earlier this year. Obviously he doesn't spend the vast majority of it given his thriftiness, but it does help to put the donation amount in perspective - his donating $100k when he's sitting on likely $2million+ in cash reserve is a less of a financial hit than someone donating $20k when they're sitting on <$50k cash reserve, for example.
He's not living on $25K either. Hence, why I won't bother reading his drivel, it's a commercial operation, pure and simple. $100K to charity, after how many years of giving what?
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
User avatar
bottlecap
Posts: 6558
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by bottlecap »

For full disclosure, I've always been skeptical of the mustache guy.

With this latest bit, all I can say is that should I ever give $100,000 away, and I probably won't, my wife will be the only one to know. Maybe my kids.

I sure won't make the amount the focus of the headline in my post about "altruism."

JT
NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 3205
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

No good deed goes unpunished. If you give to charities, you learn to live with the fact that many/most won't appreciate your generosity, so you do it from the heart and mind, and accept the fallout.

As to whether MMM or anyone else should publicize gifts, it's a 2 edged sword. Whether you call it peer pressure or setting a good example, it's sometimes good to remind people that giving to worthwhile causes is something people they know really do, not just talk about.

Junior Achievement is a national organization that teaches personal finance. I have volunteered a couple of times with high school classes there, but can't speak to the organization generally, maybe someone else can.

We give to a local organization that supports the families of first responders killed in the line of duty, and to a crisis nursery that provides emergency respite care for children at risk of abuse and neglect, among others.
freebeer
Posts: 2011
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 8:30 am
Location: Seattle area USA

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by freebeer »

lightheir wrote: ...I actually believe Mr. Money Mustasche is donating with all good intentions, and at least, with far, far better intentions than 99%, but the cynical side of me does ask why it happens now, and hasn't been donating to causes on all along as her clearly can afford it.
Come on you don't have to wonder:

1. MMM's schtick is to be an exaggerated self-example of frugality and financial independence so of course he would be writing about his process in this major spending decision, as he does about everything else from car purchases to furnace installation.

2. MMM's feeling some heat from his community due to the $400K+ income so the significant donation helps mitigate that.

3. I happen to believe he honestly also wants to start giving back and probably held off on doing so until his "stash" got big enough to feel comfortable that he wasn't putting his family's financial independence at risk. This $400K thing is not necessarily sustainable - audiences move on. His posting frequency is way down.

My only beef with MMM is that "early retirement" is not at all what he's done and I think it's a bad term to use to recommend his flavor of lifestyle to others. He is not retired by any stretch of the imagination. He is self-employed. I think most people of a similar mind don't really want to "retire" (at say, age 35 or whatever)... even if they don't want paid employment they likely will see themselves as "investors" but not as "pensioners". There is a subtle but important difference here: an investor is a successful capitalist, a pensioner is a put-out-to-pasture employee. To me "retirement" is a word that connotes more of the latter. But "early retirement" probably does better on SEO than "financial independence" and to get back to that $400K/year MMM is very savvy about building and monetizing an audience and community so I can't criticize those results.
lightheir
Posts: 2487
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by lightheir »

Just for the record, I'm all for donation, but every time I see stuff like this where a wealthy individual (say, LIQUID net worth north of $2 million) donates a sum of money with a press release or equivalent, I'm pretty unimpressed after I consider the scale of the donation relative to the public impact that usually helps their self-promotion and image (or their company's) as well as how little it impacts their lifestyle (essential NEVER impacts it, in these cases.)

I'm far, far more impressed with people of modest means who donate small amounts that already impacts their limited savings, or even moreso, those that devote actual time to assisting those in need. I just wish these folks would be the ones getting the press, and not the wealthy ones for whom you can very objectively call these public donations the equivalent of self-promotional advertisements. Doesn't take a hero to donate money when you've already got everything you need, all the cash in the bank to keep yourself AND your kids independently wealthy without work, and you accrue significantly benefits from the good name of the donation.
randomguy
Posts: 9208
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by randomguy »

lightheir wrote:
I disagree. A public $400k contribution, while certainly commendable, has plenty of upside for him. In fact, I'll bet a capitalist could very well argue it will ultimately HELP his bottom line in the long run given the public attention.

When you get to contributions on the scale of Zuckerbergs, who have so much money they and 10 generations wouldn't be able to spend it, the reality it's ALL upside for them. They get an enormous tax writeoff on spending money that they would have contributed anyway (they have so much left over, what else are they going to do with it),and as well, they get the huge benefits accrued to their good name.

It's why I view the Warren Buffet 50% billionaire challenge extremely skeptically, and I'm just trying to see it objectively, not as a cynic.

I actually believe Mr. Money Mustasche is donating with all good intentions, and at least, with far, far better intentions than 99%, but the cynical side of me does ask why it happens now, and hasn't been donating to causes on all along as her clearly can afford it.
The odds of ANYONEs fortune lasting 10 generations is about zero. Yes there are a couple but most fortunes are gone in 3 or 4 generations max. Too many kids. Too much spending. Seriously look at how many prominent revolutionary families are wealthy today. You get occasional ones but in general it is all gone. Go back only like 5 generations to the robber 1800 guys and most of their money is gone. Maybe the Waltons and the like will last longer but 150+ years is a long time for stuff to happen.

I don't know MMM's finances. Maybe he felt he need 5 million in the bank to feel safe and no has that so feels free to spend the rest. Maybe his revenue has gone from 400k->1.2 million and feels comfortable donating a bunch. Maybe he thought it was the type of blog post that would generate 200k in revenue. Who knows. If I was him and running a blog, I would post about it. It makes an interesting article. As a private person, I don't tell anyone where I give my money.
NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 3205
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

As a board member of a not for profit organization, I appreciate all the small donations and volunteer work, but have to say that we couldn't serve the people we serve without the really big donations. People who need help need trained, dedicated staff available 24/7 to serve their needs, as well as safe and well equipped facilities. No need to bash the big donors in order to honor the small donors and volunteers. All do their part.
JDot
Posts: 365
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:15 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by JDot »

White Coat Investor wrote:
lightheir wrote:Just to put things in perspective if you plan do do something similar -

Mr Money Mustasche makes over $400k per year from advertisements on his websites alone. It's in a New Yorker article from earlier this year. Obviously he doesn't spend the vast majority of it given his thriftiness, but it does help to put the donation amount in perspective - his donating $100k when he's sitting on likely $2million+ in cash reserve is a less of a financial hit than someone donating $20k when they're sitting on <$50k cash reserve, for example.
Lots of people on this board making $400K who aren't giving 10% of it to charity, much less 25%. I say well done. Not only is he giving to charity, but he is encouraging others to also do it and do it well.

By the way, given the amount of traffic his site receives if he got serious about it he could be making $4 Million with that site. Same with this site. Be sure to thank the Boglehead site owners as they are leaving a tremendous amount of cash on the table by keeping the content here ad-free.
I could not agree more on all fronts. I only discovered bogleheads.org a couple years ago (guessing) and MMM a few months ago. These two sources have had such a tremendous impact on my life in a positive way. I try to spread the word without coming across as... well a know-it-all jerk.
JDot
Posts: 365
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:15 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by JDot »

lightheir wrote:
gd wrote:
lightheir wrote:Just to put things in perspective if you plan do do something similar -

Mr Money Mustasche makes over $400k per year from advertisements on his websites alone. It's in a New Yorker article from earlier this year. Obviously he doesn't spend the vast majority of it given his thriftiness, but it does help to put the donation amount in perspective - his donating $100k when he's sitting on likely $2million+ in cash reserve is a less of a financial hit than someone donating $20k when they're sitting on <$50k cash reserve, for example.
And to put *that* in perspective, it still puts him far, far beyond just about everyone else on the planet. Really, sometimes it's just better to bite your tongue and move on.
I disagree. A public $400k contribution, while certainly commendable, has plenty of upside for him. In fact, I'll bet a capitalist could very well argue it will ultimately HELP his bottom line in the long run given the public attention.

When you get to contributions on the scale of Zuckerbergs, who have so much money they and 10 generations wouldn't be able to spend it, the reality it's ALL upside for them. They get an enormous tax writeoff on spending money that they would have contributed anyway (they have so much left over, what else are they going to do with it),and as well, they get the huge benefits accrued to their good name.

It's why I view the Warren Buffet 50% billionaire challenge extremely skeptically, and I'm just trying to see it objectively, not as a cynic.

I actually believe Mr. Money Mustasche is donating with all good intentions, and at least, with far, far better intentions than 99%, but the cynical side of me does ask why it happens now, and hasn't been donating to causes on all along as her clearly can afford it.
Your points are valid, and I think your cynicism is "fair." Although I disagree with it. I've not kept track, but I would bet I've read 80 to 90% of MMM's posts and many of his interviews and comments. He had a post from probably 4 or 5 years ago speaking about the advantages of waiting until one is FI before making a sizable donation. I believe Benjamin Franklin wrote about doing the same. I guess my point is, he's doing exactly what he said he would do, or wanted to do, years ago.

I'll also point out that I believe MMM considers himself very much a socially responsible capitalist. I hope this post doesn't come across as too abrasive or argumentative as that's not my intent.
PoppyA
Posts: 658
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:24 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by PoppyA »

My giving is done on a personal basis.

I have given cash to an old friend who fell on hard times because of a back injury. I've given cash to the cousin of a friend who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had no medical insurance.

I've given money "anonymously to the parents of a friend who went broke after many unrelenting medical issues. Some people don't like to take help, so I found a way for them get the money, but not know who gave it to them.

I support an organization involved in cancer issues. My friend sits on the board and lets some of us know when there is an urgent need for food, shelter, and clothing.

I love to give and hope to do more in the future. I like being able to know who the recipients are on a personal level.
dave_k
Posts: 401
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:25 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by dave_k »

To the MMM detractors:

If you read the article, you'll see that he explains why he hasn't donated like that before, and and I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's posting about it to encourage others who are in a position to do so, not only for the publicity. It fits with his overall message. Reading his other posts will put it in perspective.

Also, the point is early financial independence, not just early retirement. Working becomes optional, and you can do what you want with your time, whether it brings on money or not. Many people (including me, hopefully in a few years) would be bored not doing anything that resembles work, especially people driven enough to achieve early financial independence. He chooses to do construction/real estate projects and a blog.

I'm not nearly as extreme as MMM in living on such a small budget, rarely driving a car, being so anti-consumerist, or some of the other things he blogs about, but I think his overall message is a positive one that could change a lot of people's lives for the better even if they only adopt some of it (especially LBYM). And maybe I'm being gullible, but he seems like a pretty genuine guy.
User avatar
telemark
Posts: 2761
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:35 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by telemark »

In an odd way I think of charitable giving as an investment, since making the world a better place also gives me a better world to live in. I don't know if I can defend that quantitatively. In an even odder way I also think of it as part of my emergency fund, since it represents spending that I could cut if it became necessary. My main contribution is sponsoring an academic scholarship at my old university--I pay one-third and some anonymous third party covers the rest. Also small donations to Planned Parenthood and some local dance companies.
User avatar
FelixTheCat
Posts: 1915
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:39 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by FelixTheCat »

I took advice from my faith, pope and Fidelity Charitable for high impact giving. I evaluated the charities (multiple sites) to make sure they are efficient.

I focus on global hunger, homeless and medical.
  • Feeding America
    Action Against Hunger
    Solutions for Change (local homeless shelter)
    Doctors without Borders
Fidelity has a high impact giving site. https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/guid ... pact.shtml
Felix is a wonderful, wonderful cat.
User avatar
White Coat Investor
Posts: 14947
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Greatest Snow On Earth

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by White Coat Investor »

freebeer wrote: 1. MMM's schtick is to be an exaggerated self-example of frugality and financial independence so of course he would be writing about his process in this major spending decision, as he does about everything else from car purchases to furnace installation.
Exactly. He writes about his budgeting, his investments, his purchases, and his sales so why not his donations? That's what financial bloggers do. If you don't like it, don't read financial blogs. I assure you most readers DO like reading that stuff.
freebeer wrote:2. MMM's feeling some heat from his community due to the $400K+ income so the significant donation helps mitigate that.
I think you overestimat the heat and how much he cares about it. His schtick is low spending and low consumption, not low earning.
freebeer wrote:3. I happen to believe he honestly also wants to start giving back and probably held off on doing so until his "stash" got big enough to feel comfortable that he wasn't putting his family's financial independence at risk. This $400K thing is not necessarily sustainable - audiences move on. His posting frequency is way down.
I agree that I'm more impressed with a giver who starts early and goes throughout life than one who waits until FI to start giving. However, giving during life is more impressive to me than only giving at death. At that point you're giving your heir's money!
freebeer wrote:My only beef with MMM is that "early retirement" is not at all what he's done and I think it's a bad term to use to recommend his flavor of lifestyle to others. He is not retired by any stretch of the imagination. He is self-employed. I think most people of a similar mind don't really want to "retire" (at say, age 35 or whatever)... even if they don't want paid employment they likely will see themselves as "investors" but not as "pensioners". There is a subtle but important difference here: an investor is a successful capitalist, a pensioner is a put-out-to-pasture employee. To me "retirement" is a word that connotes more of the latter. But "early retirement" probably does better on SEO than "financial independence" and to get back to that $400K/year MMM is very savvy about building and monetizing an audience and community so I can't criticize those results.
He wrote you a post about that.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/02/ ... nt-police/

I agree he is savvy about building an audience, but not about monetizing it. I don't think he cares about/wants to maximize his site monetization. I assure you that if he really cared he could be raking in a multiple of $400K on that site. I think he has 5-10X my traffic and I make that with relatively straightforward, well-known internet entrepreneurial strategies that every professional blogger is aware of. He barely has ads on his site and rarely posts.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
JDot
Posts: 365
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:15 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by JDot »

dave_k wrote:To the MMM detractors:

If you read the article, you'll see that he explains why he hasn't donated like that before, and and I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's posting about it to encourage others who are in a position to do so, not only for the publicity. It fits with his overall message. Reading his other posts will put it in perspective.

Also, the point is early financial independence, not just early retirement. Working becomes optional, and you can do what you want with your time, whether it brings on money or not. Many people (including me, hopefully in a few years) would be bored not doing anything that resembles work, especially people driven enough to achieve early financial independence. He chooses to do construction/real estate projects and a blog.

I'm not nearly as extreme as MMM in living on such a small budget, rarely driving a car, being so anti-consumerist, or some of the other things he blogs about, but I think his overall message is a positive one that could change a lot of people's lives for the better even if they only adopt some of it (especially LBYM). And maybe I'm being gullible, but he seems like a pretty genuine guy.
I agree with you. (obviously, as I'm a a fan of MMM) I find his situation a bit ironic. In a nutshell, MMM and his wife saved up nearly $1 MM through working reasonably well paying jobs while living frugally. He calculates that he is technically FI and may "early retire" if he wishes. They quit their day jobs and are free to follow their passions. His passions include carpentry and home renovation and blogging about being frugal.

So in essence, he did exactly what he said he would do and encourages others to do: Live frugally so that one can become FI so that one can follow his/her passion. The end result is that he is making more money doing what he is passionate about than he ever could have had he and his wife stayed in their regular jobs. So I can understand the criticism he receives to a degree, but I think his critics are largely not interpreting his message the same way I do.

His message is to live frugally and work hard so you can follow your passions and be a better person. The result of him doing so has brought him much material wealth.

To bring this back to topic, through all of this, he feels comfortable donating charities in the hopes of making the world a better place.
freebeer
Posts: 2011
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 8:30 am
Location: Seattle area USA

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by freebeer »

White Coat Investor wrote:
freebeer wrote:My only beef with MMM is that "early retirement" is not at all what he's done and I think it's a bad term to use to recommend his flavor of lifestyle to others..
He wrote you a post about that.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/02/ ... nt-police/
...
Thanks for the comments and it's nice to get a perspective from a successful blogger.

But I don't consider that I'm a member of the Internet Retirement Police - if Pete Adenay wants to claim he's "retired" I don't really have a beef with that even though I do consider it not quite true. What I do have a beef with is subtly different: the idea that it would be a great mass movement if we all "retired" in the classic sense of withdrawing from gainful employment (the word "retire" of course literally means "withdraw") so I feel that the part of MMM that argues for frugality and financial independence is great, the part of MMM that advises schoolteachers and doctors to quit teaching school and healing patients (as he has literally done) ... not so much.
User avatar
White Coat Investor
Posts: 14947
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Greatest Snow On Earth

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by White Coat Investor »

freebeer wrote:But I don't consider that I'm a member of the Internet Retirement Police - if Pete Adenay wants to claim he's "retired" I don't really have a beef with that even though I do consider it not quite true. What I do have a beef with is subtly different: the idea that it would be a great mass movement if we all "retired" in the classic sense of withdrawing from gainful employment (the word "retire" of course literally means "withdraw") so I feel that the part of MMM that argues for frugality and financial independence is great, the part of MMM that advises schoolteachers and doctors to quit teaching school and healing patients (as he has literally done) ... not so much.
I've actually wondered at times whether it is a good idea to teach doctors how to be financially independent for that very reason- there won't be any doctors around to take care of me! In the end, I don't see why doctors and teachers shouldn't learn the same stuff as engineers and small business people. Wouldn't you want a teacher or doctor who is doing it because they love it and not because they have to?

I think the advice that should be given (and mostly, but not always is on MMM) is to do what you love, don't ruin the planet, and realize that you can spend far less than you do now and still be just as happy. Who doesn't agree with that?
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
User avatar
bottlecap
Posts: 6558
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by bottlecap »

dave_k wrote:And maybe I'm being gullible, but he seems like a pretty genuine guy.
And here is where I think the difference is. I have little major demonstrable problems with MMM, it's just a lot of little things that add up to overall skepticism. This all adds up to a strong feeling (for me - and apparently others) that he is NOT genuine. This is the complete opposite feeling you get from him and neither of us will ever know whether the other is right.

To me, he's not 100% disingenuous. Maybe not even 25%. But definitely not genuine. When either he or his supporters have to "explain" things to back up his initial overt claims, that sends a signal to me. Genuine people rarely have to explain what they previously meant.

I can't put my finger on it. I think it's an evolutionary thing. Whatever it is, it's why he will always have a significant amount of skeptics/critics and that won't ever change.

Not that he cares. Nor should he. All he needs is for half of us to like him and he's probably got at least that. Heck, even those that don't like him probably still read him occasionally.

JT
Last edited by bottlecap on Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
dave_k
Posts: 401
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:25 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by dave_k »

freebeer: I don't think enough people will follow his advice to create this sort of problem, but he addresses this issue in a post here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/04/ ... p-working/ Not sure if it would really work out as he thinks, but he has thought it through and addressed it.
dave_k
Posts: 401
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:25 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by dave_k »

bottlecap: I understand being skeptical, and we'll probably never know for sure how genuine he is, unless he does something clearly out of line with what he says and it gets exposed. I still think the underlying message of LBYM is good for everyone, and the more "extreme" stuff could work for people who have a strong desire to retire very early and want to live that lifestyle and share his outlook.
soboggled
Posts: 901
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:26 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by soboggled »

Pardon the cynicism but real personal charity is anonymous. For him, small price to pay for the PR. If he wants to brag, he should at least show the receipts. I agree with bottlecap - he doesn't ring true at all.
StealthRabbit
Posts: 528
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:25 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by StealthRabbit »

good example / stewardship of MMM wealth.

My benevolent but profit centric employer brought effective examples of community giving into the workplace since the 1960's. Been doing it ever since, and drive a $35 car so we can continue it.

We created a family foundation and donor advised fund with our appreciated stock in our 30's, and still managed to retire pre age 50 on a single income hourly wage.

Our Donor Advised fund will gift in perpetuity at the successor role of our kids (Who will end up with nothing but that role for the foundation as an inheritance)

We are surviving just fine, with the exception of HC. The USA withdrew all our affordable options, so we are without, until we reach age 65. So far so good. (but not too comforting). A(?)CA rate is $1700/ month so we are not going there.

We will just continue down the path, and keep giving as possible.

Not on the radar / interest of all. That is fine :sharebeer
Novine
Posts: 1240
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:07 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by Novine »

"Pardon the cynicism but real personal charity is anonymous. For him, small price to pay for the PR. If he wants to brag, he should at least show the receipts."

So when I donate towards a friend's cause and my name gets slapped on their little ticker showing who has donated, that's fake? I didn't know the retirement police also had a charity counterpart.
soboggled
Posts: 901
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:26 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by soboggled »

Novine wrote:"Pardon the cynicism but real personal charity is anonymous. For him, small price to pay for the PR. If he wants to brag, he should at least show the receipts."

So when I donate towards a friend's cause and my name gets slapped on their little ticker showing who has donated, that's fake? I didn't know the retirement police also had a charity counterpart.
No, but somebody making big bucks from a website bragging about his charitable contributions has a slightly different standard. I think this guy is a big-time self-promoter and as with all big-time self promoters I don't trust him very much.
Last edited by soboggled on Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 3205
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

Pardon the cynicism but real personal charity is anonymous.
It depends on whether you put more value on being virtuous or on helping more people. I'm not knocking anonymous donations, I've made some. (They are still anonymous, because I am NotWhoYouThink). But there is also a leadership aspect of making a charitable donation, and publicizing the donation and the reason you give, and setting the expectation that others should also give as they are able and motivated.

It's a matter of balance, like most other things. Work vs. time with family. Spend vs. save. Exercise vs. rest. No one likes or admires they guy who publicizes every last nickel he gives, or who gives only while someone is watching. But you don't have to be anonymous to do good and have a good heart.

This really seems to have hit a nerve.
User avatar
bengal22
Posts: 1886
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by bengal22 »

Tithe to local church. Monies impact local, national, and global ministires, as well as helping the church operate.
"Earn All You Can; Give All You Can; Save All You Can." .... John Wesley
soboggled
Posts: 901
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:26 am

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by soboggled »

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Pardon the cynicism but real personal charity is anonymous.
It depends on whether you put more value on being virtuous or on helping more people. I'm not knocking anonymous donations, I've made some. (They are still anonymous, because I am NotWhoYouThink). But there is also a leadership aspect of making a charitable donation, and publicizing the donation and the reason you give, and setting the expectation that others should also give as they are able and motivated.

It's a matter of balance, like most other things. Work vs. time with family. Spend vs. save. Exercise vs. rest. No one likes or admires they guy who publicizes every last nickel he gives, or who gives only while someone is watching. But you don't have to be anonymous to do good and have a good heart.

This really seems to have hit a nerve.
I am not talking about a private citizen here. He could have sent the message without bragging about the details on his self-promoting website where he makes big bucks. Granted, if he really gave the money, it's a good thing even if not altruistic.
NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 3205
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

What better way to increase gifts to charities than for an influential blogger to do it and blog about it?
Post Reply