Philanthropy and related issues

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
colddeadfish
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Philanthropy and related issues

Post by colddeadfish » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:54 am

Hi All,

I am very new to the forum and I certainly don't want to alienate anyone ( or break the rules). I genuinely appreciate the advice I have received.

I have yet to see any posts by the financially fortunate people here about donating some of their wealth to charity or other non-profit causes. It seems to be more of a 'do I have enough to retire' even when the OP has millions of dollars!!!

I would like to open a conversation about how we as fortunate/responsible/bogleheads can do more for our country and communities with $ or with our time.

Not politically but personally.

Thanks
CDF

msk
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by msk » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:27 am

Best million $ I spent was to give to my alma mater's well established donor program. My money bought "units" like in a mutual fund. The total endowment (a few billion $) is invested and they take a 3-year average of the returns. They then deduct x% that will leave the rest to grow and keep up with inflation. The x% for 2016 was 4.5%. So my units yielded $45k to fund my pet project, MSc bursaries. I also get a statement annually quoting how much each unit is worth. Presumably the next million $ that I was considering donating (after our absurdly high 20% SP500 2017 return) will buy fewer units. I think it's an excellent program but I have no clue what other colleges do. The perpetual nature of the "giving" seems to be highly appealing to donors, certainly to me. Pity they do not publicise it more since most people, IMHO, would prefer that than to see their hard earned money being swept in one purchase of library additions, etc. PS: I also invited the recipients of my bursaries in Spring this year to a meal. Chatting with them and hearing of their life circumstances made me appreciate that I was indeed giving to a worthy cause. Highly recommended to any BHs who can afford it. Do it while you are alive. Gives more joy than just watching your NW increasing or splurging on some silly multi-million $ boat at age 75+ :annoyed Additionally, now that my bursary program has been established, with the legal documents all signed up, I can add to it as little or as much as I wish, as frequently or as rarely as I wish.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:20 am

colddeadfish wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:54 am
Hi All,

I am very new to the forum and I certainly don't want to alienate anyone ( or break the rules). I genuinely appreciate the advice I have received.

I have yet to see any posts by the financially fortunate people here about donating some of their wealth to charity or other non-profit causes. It seems to be more of a 'do I have enough to retire' even when the OP has millions of dollars!!!

I would like to open a conversation about how we as fortunate/responsible/bogleheads can do more for our country and communities with $ or with our time.

Not politically but personally.

Thanks
CDF
Yes, it's kind of appalling sometimes to meet really wealthy people and realize how little they give. But charity is a very personal thing and I don't want people giving because they feel guilty or shamed or heaven forbid legally compelled like with taxes.

This year we're giving to international and community charities, our church, our nieces and nephews' college funds, and the White Coat Investor scholarship fund which goes to medical and other professional students. All in, it'll be our biggest giving year by percentage (more than we spent actualy) and by far our biggest year in absolute amount. We still felt like we lived lavishly, invested a ton, and certainly paid plenty in taxes.
Last edited by White Coat Investor on Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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alpine_boglehead
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by alpine_boglehead » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:26 am

colddeadfish wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:54 am

I would like to open a conversation about how we as fortunate/responsible/bogleheads can do more for our country and communities with $ or with our time.
I don't have millions (yet :D ), but I give some money to causes which make a difference.

When donating, I think about getting the best "bang for my buck". To me, even if it might be cynical, there are different levels of help, like in
- help to feed one person for another month
- help that person feed herself
- help lots of people being able to feed themselves (e.g. the biggest spending items on the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation is infectious disease control, they're putting the money where it really has leverage https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%26_ ... Activities)

It's a pity that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates aren't on the board, they could certainly say something about donating billions :D

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alpine_boglehead
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by alpine_boglehead » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:35 am

White Coat Investor wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:20 am
colddeadfish wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:54 am
Hi All,

I am very new to the forum and I certainly don't want to alienate anyone ( or break the rules). I genuinely appreciate the advice I have received.

I have yet to see any posts by the financially fortunate people here about donating some of their wealth to charity or other non-profit causes. It seems to be more of a 'do I have enough to retire' even when the OP has millions of dollars!!!

I would like to open a conversation about how we as fortunate/responsible/bogleheads can do more for our country and communities with $ or with our time.

Not politically but personally.

Thanks
CDF
Yes, it's kind of appalling sometimes to meet really wealthy people and realize how little they give. But charity is a very personal thing and I don't want people giving because they feel guilty or shamed or heaven forbid legally compelled like with taxes.
True, but if you can encourage some imitation or competition or peer pressure, no harm done. If a few "I have bought a new yacht for X million $" are converted to "I have given X million $ to a good cause" that would't be too bad. Also from a investment perspective - that yacht isn't going to produce any return (apart from some enjoyment for the owner), but money put into education, charity, disease prevention, research etc. likely has more value for society.

colddeadfish
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by colddeadfish » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:25 am

Yes, it's kind of appalling sometimes to meet really wealthy people and realize how little they give. But charity is a very personal thing and I don't want people giving because they feel guilty or shamed or heaven forbid legally compelled like with taxes.

This year we're giving to international and community charities, our church, our nieces and nephews' college funds, and the White Coat Investor scholarship fund which goes to medical and other professional students. All in, it'll be our biggest giving year by percentage (pushing 20% of gross) and by far our biggest year in absolute amount. We still felt like we lived lavishly, invested a ton, and certainly paid plenty in taxes.
[/quote]

Thanks, I appreciate the response. Good on you!! It's nice to hear that you have multiple outlets for giving!!

My intention is not to shame only start a conversation.

HIinvestor
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by HIinvestor » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:30 am

I give a lot of time and financial support to the local nonprofit I founded and related national nonprofits as well as some to public health organizations.

colddeadfish
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by colddeadfish » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:35 am

HIinvestor wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:30 am
I give a lot of time and financial support to the local nonprofit I founded and related national nonprofits as well as some to public health organizations.
Thanks!!! I think I am not doing the quote thing right.

I want hear more....please :D

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jimgour
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by jimgour » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:02 am

I don't know for sure, but I suspect there are many Bogleheads like us who not only do not talk about their donations publicly, but also do not mention them even when posting on anonymous boards like this one. We've always been generous with our donations, but I prefer not to say more.

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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by AlohaJoe » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:09 am

colddeadfish wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:54 am
I have yet to see any posts by the financially fortunate people here about donating some of their wealth to charity or other non-profit causes. It seems to be more of a 'do I have enough to retire' even when the OP has millions of dollars!!!
This board is for "investing advice inspired by John Bogle" so I talk about investing here and (usually) not other topics. I have other forums on the internet for other things.

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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by spitty » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:00 am

We also favor lots of animal causes, especially local shelters. A new one on our list this year is Helping Rhinos; their mission is preventing senseless killing of these creatures for their horns. Only THREE Northern White Rhinos remain in the world. They're a 501c3 group. BTW there's talk of limiting how long we can keep funds in DAFs--if it's forever charities are being penalized.

student
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by student » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:42 am

I have seen a number of posts regarding philanthropy, many in the form of asking advice on donor advised funds. Personally, I believe I am not in the position of making major gifts yet. The only "major" (to me anyway) one that I had given was to divert money from an inheritance a few years ago to establish a scholarship in memory of my parents. It wasn't enough to endow it. My goal is to endow it some day. So these days, I actually do not make charitable donation anymore, except to the university (my employer) as it needs the high participation rate for outside fund raising. Instead, I put the money towards my goal.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:58 am

colddeadfish wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:54 am
Hi All,

I am very new to the forum and I certainly don't want to alienate anyone ( or break the rules). I genuinely appreciate the advice I have received.

I have yet to see any posts by the financially fortunate people here about donating some of their wealth to charity or other non-profit causes. It seems to be more of a 'do I have enough to retire' even when the OP has millions of dollars!!!

I would like to open a conversation about how we as fortunate/responsible/bogleheads can do more for our country and communities with $ or with our time.

Not politically but personally.

Thanks
CDF
Type "donor advised funds" or just "DAF" in the search box on the home page and see how many entries pop up. You will see this is a topic that comes up frequently.

Edited to add: Also "QCD"
Last edited by NotWhoYouThink on Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by livesoft » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:00 am

Yes, there are many many posts and threads about philanthropy.

Many bogleheads are quite generous, but tend not to brag about it.

FWIW, I worked many years for a non-profit and charitable contributions were important for my livelihood, so I often encourage folks to make charitable contributions.
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wrl
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by wrl » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:24 am

colddeadfish,

Are you looking for ideas on philanthropy? Do you give away alot (percent of gross, not total) now?

For me, until my three kids leave the nest, that is the primary focus of my "giving." But historically my largest donations were to united way.

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HueyLD
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by HueyLD » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:55 am

livesoft wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:00 am
Yes, there are many many posts and threads about philanthropy.

Many bogleheads are quite generous, but tend not to brag about it.

FWIW, I worked many years for a non-profit and charitable contributions were important for my livelihood, so I often encourage folks to make charitable contributions.
+1.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:42 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:55 am
livesoft wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:00 am
Yes, there are many many posts and threads about philanthropy.

Many bogleheads are quite generous, but tend not to brag about it.

FWIW, I worked many years for a non-profit and charitable contributions were important for my livelihood, so I often encourage folks to make charitable contributions.
+1.
It's a tricky balance, avoiding the humblebrag while also trying to inspire others. Can't say I always stay on the correct side of the line.
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The529guy
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by The529guy » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:29 pm

colddeadfish wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:54 am
Hi All,

I am very new to the forum and I certainly don't want to alienate anyone ( or break the rules). I genuinely appreciate the advice I have received.

I have yet to see any posts by the financially fortunate people here about donating some of their wealth to charity or other non-profit causes. It seems to be more of a 'do I have enough to retire' even when the OP has millions of dollars!!!

I would like to open a conversation about how we as fortunate/responsible/bogleheads can do more for our country and communities with $ or with our time.

Not politically but personally.

Thanks
CDF
If you search for "charity," the results include "about 7,380 results" here on bogleheads.org.

"Donor Advised Fund" turns up hundreds of results.
Last edited by The529guy on Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

aristotelian
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by aristotelian » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:31 pm

The529guy wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:29 pm
If you search for "Donor Advised Fund" or "DAF," you will find literally hundreds of discussions on this forum about donating wealth to charitable causes.
+1, this is a very charitable forum. In fact, this is where I learned about the possibility of the Donor Advised Fund. If that is interesting to the OP, he should move quickly because we may lose the deduction next year.

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lthenderson
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by lthenderson » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:46 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:00 am
Many bogleheads are quite generous, but tend not to brag about it.
+1

Having spent quite a bit of time recent years working for non-profit organizations that depend on donations, I definitely see a trend that the most generous tend to be the most humble people as well.

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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by KlangFool » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:59 pm

OP,

I donate to the local food bank whenever I am employed.

KlangFool

msk
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by msk » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:40 am

One can contribute a LOT by putting in effort and time instead of $. Many BHs are very knowledgeable and more financially astute than the average Joe. They also may have quite a number of wealthy friends. Myself and DW had a pre-nuptial agreement when we got married to separate our finances, more or less standard in Quebec, where we were students. She was the wealthier party since her scholarship was far higher than mine. Anyway life moved on and she ended up being a stay-at-home Mum till the kids went to college. Hence she never had much NW to give to charity, but she did give TIME! Lo and behold; about 20 years ago she was instrumental in setting up a $5+million shelter for battered women. Smooth talked someone at her club to give the cash to build it, and the city to fund the running. One of our daughters was on the board of a charity and she managed to convince her ex-husband(yes, ex- !) to contribute a couple of million to build a commercial building that now funds their ongoing charitable work. There are a lot of poor folk who put in a lot of effort and time into, e.g. church charitable activities, but they lack the BH-level networking with wealthy people, thus limiting the fruit of their labor. I really admire people who put in major chunks of their time. Giving money is far, far less hassle and rather effortless.

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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by daveydoo » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:22 am

Not wealthy but we give a lot -- driven mostly by spouse. There are many, many threads here on donor-advised funds and efficient ways of donating. Oh, and the first answer to anyone wrestling with high capital gains in an underperforming asset, or posting about higher marginal rate for a windfall is almost invariably "donate it!"

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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by juliewongferra » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:25 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:09 am
colddeadfish wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:54 am
I have yet to see any posts by the financially fortunate people here about donating some of their wealth to charity or other non-profit causes. It seems to be more of a 'do I have enough to retire' even when the OP has millions of dollars!!!
This board is for "investing advice inspired by John Bogle" so I talk about investing here and (usually) not other topics. I have other forums on the internet for other things.
Wrong! This is not just an investing board! It is also for personal finance and personal consumer issues! I get it if you don't want to talk about things other than investing, because to each her own, but I just want to be sure that conversations like this one about philanthropy are welcome!

cheers,
jwf

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Artful Dodger
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by Artful Dodger » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:56 pm

I try to do a little of both. We donate $ to our church, Rotary international, and a number of community based charities. I also volunteer my time with Rotary, raising $ for my local club to give to charity. I also help other clubs with planning and setting goals, so they can grow and do more local and international service.

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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:38 pm

I do not post my contributions to various causes for several reasons.

First, I am a private person. There are a number of people who know the name I use online and I don't really care to let them know what I am doing or that I even have money.

Second, the purpose of a charitable contribution is to benefit others, not to build a monument to the donor. For every billionaire who feels a need to publicly announce what they are doing with their fortunes, there are many in the background financing their favorite charities anonymously.

Third, when you post on this forum, there is a number of people who will want to debate your choice of charities. In previous posts, I noted that I contributed to two organizations and got grief for it in public and private messages. Who needs it? I get to make that decision.

KlangFool
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by KlangFool » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:51 pm

jlawrence01 wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:38 pm
I do not post my contributions to various causes for several reasons.

First, I am a private person. There are a number of people who know the name I use online and I don't really care to let them know what I am doing or that I even have money.

Second, the purpose of a charitable contribution is to benefit others, not to build a monument to the donor. For every billionaire who feels a need to publicly announce what they are doing with their fortunes, there are many in the background financing their favorite charities anonymously.

Third, when you post on this forum, there is a number of people who will want to debate your choice of charities. In previous posts, I noted that I contributed to two organizations and got grief for it in public and private messages. Who needs it? I get to make that decision.
jlawrence01,

1) Your choice.

2) Their problem.

3) If someone wants to debate my choice, I would ask why is it any of their businesses? It is my money. They could donate to whoever they choose with their money.

KlangFool

sarahjane
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by sarahjane » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:56 pm

I donated my entire RMD this year to keep it from the fed leeches.

delamer
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by delamer » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:29 pm

colddeadfish wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:54 am
Hi All,

I am very new to the forum and I certainly don't want to alienate anyone ( or break the rules). I genuinely appreciate the advice I have received.

I have yet to see any posts by the financially fortunate people here about donating some of their wealth to charity or other non-profit causes. It seems to be more of a 'do I have enough to retire' even when the OP has millions of dollars!!!

I would like to open a conversation about how we as fortunate/responsible/bogleheads can do more for our country and communities with $ or with our time.

Not politically but personally.

Thanks
CDF
What does it mean "to open a conversation" about charitable and non-profit giving in the context of this forum?

If your point is to encourage others on the forum to donate, then I don't see why you think that is appropriate. Your post comes across is if you think people who have a certain level of wealth should contribute some portion of that wealth to good causes. How is that your concern?

Every Boglehead knows that there are worthwhile causes out there and each chooses which, if any, to support based on his/her personal values.

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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by daveydoo » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:57 pm

delamer wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:29 pm

If your point is to encourage others on the forum to donate, then I don't see why you think that is appropriate. Your post comes across is if you think people who have a certain level of wealth should contribute some portion of that wealth to good causes. How is that your concern?

Every Boglehead knows that there are worthwhile causes out there and each chooses which, if any, to support based on his/her personal values.
Oh...maybe give OP the benefit of the doubt. I didn't infer any mean intent from the OP's comment and there's been ample defense of the BH way above. Yes, as a financial advice forum, we do look kinda self-absorbed. But, as you and others pointed out, we each have a lot of activities that we don't discuss here -- fortunately! Wise use of money is wise use of money.

flyingaway
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by flyingaway » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:07 am

If I had money to denote, I would not have to do one more years.

delamer
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by delamer » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:18 am

daveydoo wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:57 pm
delamer wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:29 pm

If your point is to encourage others on the forum to donate, then I don't see why you think that is appropriate. Your post comes across is if you think people who have a certain level of wealth should contribute some portion of that wealth to good causes. How is that your concern?

Every Boglehead knows that there are worthwhile causes out there and each chooses which, if any, to support based on his/her personal values.
Oh...maybe give OP the benefit of the doubt. I didn't infer any mean intent from the OP's comment and there's been ample defense of the BH way above. Yes, as a financial advice forum, we do look kinda self-absorbed. But, as you and others pointed out, we each have a lot of activities that we don't discuss here -- fortunately! Wise use of money is wise use of money.

I did not intend to imply any mean intent; people usually are sincere about their charitable impulses.

I just thought that it was inappropriate. It would have been one thing if s/he had said "I am interested in world hunger; what is a good charity to support in that field?" But an unsolicited comment on how "financially fortunate" people should spend their money -- nope.

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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by Tyler Aspect » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:26 am

I am on a charitable donation committee at my local church. We focus on a few specific areas, and they are food, shelter, education, and health-care. We will have typically 10 charities on our support list, and we monitor the charities for addition / deletion on a yearly basis.
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by daveydoo » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:41 am

delamer wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:18 am
...But an unsolicited comment on how "financially fortunate" people should spend their money -- nope.
But that's half of BH! "Buy this car at this trim level and mileage." Or "Buy this investment but not that one!" It's all fair game, imo.

No matter how much I give to charity, if someone were to say "You should give more," well, they'd probably have a point. We do have a responsibility to each other -- I infer that's why there are so many helpful comments on this forum.

I grew up solidly middle class; my spouse did not. I was unaware of a lot of the issues that she and her friends had to deal with growing up poor. Now, she seldom passes up an opportunity to help others. She buys socks at Costco to keep in her car and hand to the homeless at intersections. My cynical self used to feel that a lot of these folks were just looking for easy money, but after seeing how elated they are for a clean, dry pair of socks, well...that'd be a pretty long con :( . My contribution is trying to ensure that we can capture the tax deductions (but not for the socks). :D

KlangFool
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by KlangFool » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:38 am

OP,

I believe that if you want to know how and who we donate to, you should tell us how and who you donate to too.

KlangFool

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:48 am

I am very new to the forum and I certainly don't want to alienate anyone ( or break the rules). I genuinely appreciate the advice I have received.

I have yet to see any posts by the financially fortunate people here about donating some of their wealth to charity or other non-profit causes. It seems to be more of a 'do I have enough to retire' even when the OP has millions of dollars!!!

I would like to open a conversation about how we as fortunate/responsible/bogleheads can do more for our country and communities with $ or with our time.
Actually, it kind of read like:
"No offense (which has never NOT been followed by an offensive comment), but you people seem like a bunch of money grubbing misers. I haven't actually used the search box to see whether "charity" "donate" "gift" or any other terms are frequently mentioned here, but don't see any threads on the first screen about it. Let me improve your character by suggesting that you consider being generous instead of greedy."

A better way to open the discussion might indeed have been:
"How do you determine where to donate? What causes resonate with you? How do you know an organization is really doing good instead of just building a moving web page?"

delamer
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Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by delamer » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:52 am

daveydoo wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:41 am
delamer wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:18 am
...But an unsolicited comment on how "financially fortunate" people should spend their money -- nope.
But that's half of BH! "Buy this car at this trim level and mileage." Or "Buy this investment but not that one!" It's all fair game, imo.

No matter how much I give to charity, if someone were to say "You should give more," well, they'd probably have a point. We do have a responsibility to each other -- I infer that's why there are so many helpful comments on this forum.

I grew up solidly middle class; my spouse did not. I was unaware of a lot of the issues that she and her friends had to deal with growing up poor. Now, she seldom passes up an opportunity to help others. She buys socks at Costco to keep in her car and hand to the homeless at intersections. My cynical self used to feel that a lot of these folks were just looking for easy money, but after seeing how elated they are for a clean, dry pair of socks, well...that'd be a pretty long con :( . My contribution is trying to ensure that we can capture the tax deductions (but not for the socks). :D
If I post in the forum about buying a new car, I expect people to tell me what car to buy. If I post about what mutual fund to use in my Roth, I expect people to tell me which mutual fund to buy.

Those are totally different than an unsolicited post about how we "financially fortunate" Bogleheads ought to give more to charity. It is made more inappropriate by the fact the the OP has virtually no information about what anyone already gives.

Unsolicited advice on how I should spend my money is annoying, bordering on obnoxious.

Totally agree with KlangFool's and NotWhoYouThink's comments directly above.

daveydoo
Posts: 956
Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 1:53 am

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by daveydoo » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:43 pm

delamer wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:52 am

If I post in the forum about buying a new car, I expect people to tell me what car to buy. If I post about what mutual fund to use in my Roth, I expect people to tell me which mutual fund to buy.

Those are totally different than an unsolicited post about how we "financially fortunate" Bogleheads ought to give more to charity. It is made more inappropriate by the fact the the OP has virtually no information about what anyone already gives.

Unsolicited advice on how I should spend my money is annoying, bordering on obnoxious.
I hear you. He/she did say "we" and not "you." And it was his/her post -- not a response to your request for information. There are a lot of posts that I find overly personal and just ignore -- "What's your net worth?" "How did you celebrate after joining the three-comma club?"

And to KlangFool -- lots of folks ask about cars without describing their own fleet.

I fear that this has touched a nerve. I appreciate that there are personal and even cultural differences in giving. But the attack that it's simply too personal seems weak on this forum -- we talk about our net worth (see above), our kids' successes and failures, our lousy bosses, our spouses' spending habits, etc. I think giving is a lot less personal and a lot less "none-of-your-business" than those topics...although no one but my spouse and my accountant know how much we give or to whom. If asked, I'd tell people where we donate. And at this time of year and in this political climate, I think a little introspection around this topic can't hurt.

delamer
Posts: 3247
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by delamer » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:17 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:43 pm
delamer wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:52 am

If I post in the forum about buying a new car, I expect people to tell me what car to buy. If I post about what mutual fund to use in my Roth, I expect people to tell me which mutual fund to buy.

Those are totally different than an unsolicited post about how we "financially fortunate" Bogleheads ought to give more to charity. It is made more inappropriate by the fact the the OP has virtually no information about what anyone already gives.

Unsolicited advice on how I should spend my money is annoying, bordering on obnoxious.
I hear you. He/she did say "we" and not "you." And it was his/her post -- not a response to your request for information. There are a lot of posts that I find overly personal and just ignore -- "What's your net worth?" "How did you celebrate after joining the three-comma club?"

And to KlangFool -- lots of folks ask about cars without describing their own fleet.

I fear that this has touched a nerve. I appreciate that there are personal and even cultural differences in giving. But the attack that it's simply too personal seems weak on this forum -- we talk about our net worth (see above), our kids' successes and failures, our lousy bosses, our spouses' spending habits, etc. I think giving is a lot less personal and a lot less "none-of-your-business" than those topics...although no one but my spouse and my accountant know how much we give or to whom. If asked, I'd tell people where we donate. And at this time of year and in this political climate, I think a little introspection around this topic can't hurt.

if the OP had said "I give $5,000 a year to charity, which is 5% of my net worth" I would neither have objected nor cared. I am like you in that I generally don't respond to or care much about those type of posts. (They aren't usually actionable in terms of the forum rules anyway.)

One if the valuable parts of this forum is that we can discuss our financial issues in anonymity, so the personal part does not bother me.

My objection is the phrase "how we as fortunate/responsible/bogleheads can do more for our country and communities with $ or with our time."

No one asked for suggestions as to what to do with our money or our time. It is over the line to suggest that we need help determining how to handle our charitable giving because of s/he thinks all the millionaires here spend too much time worrying about our retirement balances.

colddeadfish
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:30 pm

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by colddeadfish » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:56 pm

Hi Everyone, Op here. Thank you for your responses.

Lessons learned from this post:

1. The search engine is your friend. I will use it first from now on
2. Tone is easily/frequently misinterpreted in chat format
3. It would have been better to ask a specific question about donating and volunteering

I am only very recently able to even think about making charitable donations and I was simply curious about what folks here have done or plan to do. I have learned so many valuable things from this forum and I, without searching :oops: , noticed that I hadn't seen this topic come up. That was the extent of my intentions.

delamer
Posts: 3247
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by delamer » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:01 pm

colddeadfish wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:56 pm
Hi Everyone, Op here. Thank you for your responses.

Lessons learned from this post:

1. The search engine is your friend. I will use it first from now on
2. Tone is easily/frequently misinterpreted in chat format
3. It would have been better to ask a specific question about donating and volunteering

I am only very recently able to even think about making charitable donations and I was simply curious about what folks here have done or plan to do. I have learned so many valuable things from this forum and I, without searching :oops: , noticed that I hadn't seen this topic come up. That was the extent of my intentions.
As you know, I was critical of your initial post. I glad to see that took the comments to heart and you've picked up some good habits for the future.

jackholloway
Posts: 945
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:45 pm

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by jackholloway » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:51 am

One actionable suggestion: see if there is a forcing function in your life. I have a few - I have a charitable giving match at work, I read the financials at my congregation and thus know the “cost per member” to support the place, and we have set a charitable giving target from each paycheck. Any of these could have driven our donation plan for the year.

letsgobobby
Posts: 10699
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:10 am

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by letsgobobby » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:55 am

jackholloway wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:51 am
One actionable suggestion: see if there is a forcing function in your life. I have a few - I have a charitable giving match at work, I read the financials at my congregation and thus know the “cost per member” to support the place, and we have set a charitable giving target from each paycheck. Any of these could have driven our donation plan for the year.
other ideas we’ve used:

- contributions as percent of income (gross or after tax)
- contributions as percent of net worth
- contributions increase by x% or y dollars per year
- contribution a fixed dollar amount daily by use of a visible jar or box to which you literally contribute, in cash, the set amount 365 times per calendar year. The virtue is in the habit. (in this case we later wrote a check and deposited the cash in our account).

KlangFool
Posts: 7215
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by KlangFool » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:23 am

colddeadfish wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:56 pm
Hi Everyone, Op here. Thank you for your responses.

Lessons learned from this post:

1. The search engine is your friend. I will use it first from now on
2. Tone is easily/frequently misinterpreted in chat format
3. It would have been better to ask a specific question about donating and volunteering

I am only very recently able to even think about making charitable donations and I was simply curious about what folks here have done or plan to do. I have learned so many valuable things from this forum and I, without searching :oops: , noticed that I hadn't seen this topic come up. That was the extent of my intentions.
colddeadfish,

<< I have yet to see any posts by the financially fortunate people here about donating some of their wealth to charity or other non-profit causes. >>

For your future posts, please do not use those words to label Bogleheads. It does not describe the many circumstances and challenges that some of us had to face to get to this point. I was slightly offended. But, I give you the benefit of doubt since you are new.

ASSUME - Making an ASS out of U and ME.

KlangFool

scone
Posts: 1390
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:46 pm

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by scone » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:52 am

I give to charity and will give via my estate plan. I think the main issue is not "should I give?" but "how do I give most effectively?" One place to start is by examining the organization, asking questions about their systems and procedures for accounting, investment management, insurance, and risk management in general. (I'm talking mostly about small, local nonprofits here, rather than the big ones that often have watchdog organizations looking at them.)

Unfortunately, what I have encountered is a real lack of professional-level work in many nonprofit organizations. The problem is not just that people "don't have time" to do the job, and it's not usually bad intentions. It's inertia combined with a sort of avoidant behavior that has its roots in the social structure of the organization, so it's difficult to change.

For example, when a respected and trusted volunteer has been handling the money for many years, no one wants to suggest that this system needs to be turned over to a committee, for accountability and transparency, because it seems like a vote of no confidence in the volunteer. No one wants to get into an emotional challenge with someone who may be an old friend, or someone who has a lot of clout.

Another thing I've seen, is people running finance who simply have no clue whatsoever about it. Sometimes it's a lack of knowledge-- people who couldn't even tell you the difference between a stock and a bond. They don't know what they don't know. Sometimes it's an extreme unwillingness to engage in the type of "what if" thinking you see in risk management-- they haven't talked about embezzlement, fraud, investment management, liability, insurance, etc. because it's uncomfortable and complex. By letting sleeping dogs lie, they don't educate themselves, and can become an easy target for criminal behavior, which (among other bad outcomes) can ruin the nonprofit's reputation and turn off potential donors.

So there are multiple issues and obstacles to implementing "best practices" in nonprofit management. What I've done is a combination of research to find the better run organizations, along with some cheerleading for change in nonprofits I care about that "need work." But it's an uphill struggle. Any ideas?
"My bond allocation is the amount of money that I cannot afford to lose." -- Taylor Larimore

Rupert
Posts: 2731
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by Rupert » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:01 pm

Don't forget to use smile.amazon.com when you make Amazon purchases. Amazon will then make a donation to the charity of your choice. It's a way you can be both materialistic and charitable at the same time. :sharebeer

daveydoo
Posts: 956
Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 1:53 am

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by daveydoo » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:23 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:23 am

<< I have yet to see any posts by the financially fortunate people here about donating some of their wealth to charity or other non-profit causes. >>
I see a bunch right up there.
KlangFool wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:23 am

For your future posts, please do not use those words to label Bogleheads. It does not describe the many circumstances and challenges that some of us had to face to get to this point. I was slightly offended.

ASSUME - Making an ASS out of U and ME.
There's nothing pejorative about the expression "financially fortunate." Are you mistaking this for "lucky"? OP means wealthy or well off or rich. That's a thing, and it's not a commentary on how you got there and I don't think it's meant to sum up the totality of one's life struggles. Many on BH are financially fortunate. Many are not. I interpreted OP's post as referring to those BH who are. As an aside, there is always an element of luck in attaining financial good fortune (e.g., catastrophic illness, wrong industry at the wrong time, high-performing element of an unsuccessful team or effort, etc.).

Tallis
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:23 pm

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by Tallis » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:24 pm

scone wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:52 am
So there are multiple issues and obstacles to implementing "best practices" in nonprofit management. What I've done is a combination of research to find the better run organizations, along with some cheerleading for change in nonprofits I care about that "need work." But it's an uphill struggle. Any ideas?
It's really hard to reform small, local charities that have entrenched bad practices. I've walked away from organizations that didn't seem interested in improving procedures, usually because "they'd always done it that way."

For larger charities I have used charitynavigator.org, and givewell.org. The latter site makes an excellent case for research-based charity, even though their suggestions initially seem off-beat (Deworm the World?).

My wife and I give a set proportion of our gross income each year, on a plan that we set up in a spreadsheet each year. Our goals are to do go and be better people, so we focus on efficiency and anonymity. The spreadsheet helps remove unhelpful things like spontaneity, personal relationships, and emotions, from our charitable decisions. We've found that the minimal cost of a donor-advised fund is well worth the returns in flexibility and anonymity, though it doesn't seem to cut down on holiday-season charitable solicitations.

lhl12
Posts: 597
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 8:24 am

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by lhl12 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:49 pm

I think a lot about this topic. Soon after I "hit my number", my thinking changed from "achieving financial independence to "leaving a legacy".

"Leaving a legacy" can mean a lot of things. For some, it means avoiding as much tax as possible in the process of leaving everything you have to your kids.

For others, it means changing the world (for the better) as much as possible after I'm gone.

For others, it means changing the world as much as possible while living.

For others (Warren Buffett, for example), it means leaving your kids enough to do whatever they want but not enough to do nothing.

And, of course, any combination of the above might qualify.

I'm not sure where I come out on the spectrum just yet, but I hope to have at least a few more years to allow my thinking to evolve.

It is an interesting feeling to know that when I ponder my investment policy and my rebalancing, I am doing it on behalf of someone other than myself and my immediate family.

KlangFool
Posts: 7215
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Philanthropy and related issues

Post by KlangFool » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:57 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:23 pm

There's nothing pejorative about the expression "financially fortunate." Are you mistaking this for "lucky"? OP means wealthy or well off or rich. That's a thing, and it's not a commentary on how you got there and I don't think it's meant to sum up the totality of one's life struggles. Many on BH are financially fortunate. Many are not. I interpreted OP's post as referring to those BH who are. As an aside, there is always an element of luck in attaining financial good fortune (e.g., catastrophic illness, wrong industry at the wrong time, high-performing element of an unsuccessful team or effort, etc.).
daveydoo,

<<As an aside, there is always an element of luck in attaining financial good fortune>>

I disagreed. There are those that survived and thrived in spite of bad luck and challenging circumstances.

A) Person A worked at Enron for 20+ years. His 401K and close to 50% or more of his asset was wiped out by Enron. He retired at 62 years old.

B) 50% of my asset was wiped out by Telecom bust. I faced annual and quarterly laid off for the past 10+ years. I was unemployed for more than 1 year a few times. I am trying to be FI over the next few years.

<<There's nothing pejorative about the expression "financially fortunate." >>

Not to you. But, for some of us, it is pejorative.

KlangFool

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