Sunday, November 12, 2006

Charitable Giving is a Part of Personal Finance too

Tis the season to give!

I was reading a personal finance BLOG today that was talking about how it is "More Blessed to give than to receive". Being a Christian, this is certainly something I have been taught all my life as well...but trust me, I'm not here to preach.

Ok...there are plenty of aspects of charitable giving that can be discussed. The most obvious is the implications it has on one's taxes, and while this is certainly perhaps the most obvious one to discuss in a Personal Fianance BLOG...I think I will leave that to others.

Another couple of angles from which to discuss giving comes from our general giving back to society, and how we might try to teach our kids about that same thing. (here is an NPR broadcast that talks about teaching kids about giving) I could go on and on about this sort of thing, but this might be considered preachy....and while I think discussing charitable giving IS fair game for a personal finance BLOG, I'm going there in this post.

So without getting into religion or morals I will say that I think the most good we can have is when we roll-up our sleeves and get personally involved in a charity. Giving money is certainly easier, is tax deductable and in any cases may be the most helpful thing for a particular charity, but I feel our hands-on support is as good for us as it is for the people we try to help. (and it does go a lot longer way to teaching our kids the lesson of charity. Writing a check just does not give children the same "connection" to the help being given.)

Don't worry, I am not going to "push" a particular charity...I think you can find one that you would want to support right in your own town! There is no shortage of need even in a country as blessed with wealth as ours. (and there are certainly plenty more in the rest of the world too)

The above mentioned BLOG did turn me on to what looks like a very useful website that evaluates charities. It apparently looks through their form 990 tax returns from which it breakdown the charities income and how it is spent. If you have a list of charities you give to, you can look them up there....but perhaps even more interesting is the "search" mechanism you can use to fine one that caters to a particular mission.

So no matter how much money you make, I do urge you to give back. If you don't have time or money...I suggest simple random acts of kindness would be great. (actually, that would be great for everyone to consider too....starting today! After all, tomorrow is World Kindness Day)

Tis the season to give, and you will feel better having done so too!

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