Monday, September 17th, 2018
Most of us want to give back and help others, and there's no shortage of worthy charities that can use the money—especially during tough economic times.
Unfortunately, it's during those tough economic times when we tend to donate less, fearing for our own financial security.
Even in good economic times, staying on top of the daily costs of living, paying off debt and saving for retirement is challenging. Finding extra money for charitable giving on top of that can be a real financial stretch.
Many of us (myself included) approach charitable giving haphazardly, giving to whoever crosses our paths at the time—neighbourhood kids fundraising for a sports trip, air cadets canvassing outside the grocery store or email donation requests. Or we might make a mental promissory note to donate "one of these days" when we have some extra cash, and then neglect to follow through.
Obviously, we can't give to everyone, but by making regular charitable giving part of our financial plan we can give back and do good in a budget-friendly way.
A simple way to start is to look at your monthly income and see where you have any extra money after you've covered your expenses, savings and investments. How much of that extra do you want to put aside for charity?
Finally, it pays to review your donation strategy from time to time — ideally when you review your financial plan — to determine how well it's working and whether it's time to loosen or tighten the charitable giving purse strings.
By including charitable giving in your financial plan, you're taking a proactive approach to giving back, instead of reacting to every request that comes your way and feeling a bite in your wallet from saying yes or guilt in your conscience from saying no.
If you're giving to charity in a way that suits you and your finances, you'll be able to do a better job helping others.