Giving with Intentionality


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WHAT I'M THINKING ABOUT: Reconnecting with your Giving

"You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving."
— Amy Carmichael

With your turkey hangover slept off and Mariah Carey on the airwaves, the holiday season has officially kicked off. The holidays are the perfect time to evaluate your giving and consider whether you can give more to those in need—and with automated online giving it’s never been easier, right?

But with convenience comes a loss of engagement. Set it and forget it is great for savings, but automated giving can mentally and emotionally disconnect us from the causes and people we’re supporting. As a result, the joy and intentionality of giving suffers. And for parents, children are losing the opportunity to see a model of selfless giving.

So how do we better engage with our giving in the age of automated payments? Here are some ideas.

  • Idea 1: Engage Your Mind: Take stock of your giving by reviewing year-to-date giving. Do you understand what your giving has enabled the organization to do? This awareness can reinvigorate your giving and encourage you to keep it up.
  • Idea 2: Review How Much & Where: With automated giving, it’s easy to let years lapse without reevaluating your level of giving. Did you decide on a fixed monthly amount years ago when your income was at a very different level? Similarly, take stock of what you’re supporting. Are these still worthy causes that make good use of donations? Are there other organizations you should also be supporting?
  • Idea 3: Involve Your Kids: A simple way to involve kids in giving is to require them to set aside a portion of their allowance for giving. Once their giving fund has amassed a certain amount, let your kids decide where to donate the money.

Another approach involves kids in the family’s giving process. First, open a savings account specifically for giving and set up monthly automatic transfers into it. Then, on a quarterly basis sit down with your family, give your kids some ideas and options for giving, and let them decide how much and where to give.  (You can do this for a small percentage of your giving or all of it, whatever suits you best.)  

Finally, your kids can get involved with the actual giving by helping you write and mail the checks. Sure, this takes more time, but you’ll benefit your children with a model of giving, and you’ll reconnect with the joy and intentionality of your giving.

Here are two interesting articles I read this month:

The Mistakes We Make When Giving to Charity
By Shlomo Benartzi and Christopher Olivola, The Wall Street Journal

In working with clients, I find almost everyone wants to be more generous than they are. The desire is there but they can’t or don’t execute for a variety of reasons.

If you’re in this camp, here is a thought-provoking article about how we tend to get in our own way when it comes to giving. It also reminds us of the power of giving. Holding tight to your money for the sake of security will likely achieve the very opposite: increasing your anxiety. It’s counterintuitive, but often the best way to address anxiety about money is to try giving more of it away.

“We often assume giving money away is a choice between our happiness and the happiness of others. But this research is a reminder that generosity is much better than that: We are built so that giving also feels good. When we donate to a cause we believe in, everybody wins.”

9 ways you can lower your medical bills
By Jeanie Ahn, Yahoo!Finance

Check out this article for tips on saving on healthcare costs. You’ll be surprised by how much is negotiable when it comes to medical costs.

For those of you going through open enrollment on the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace, don’t miss the invite to submit questions for Yahoo!Finance’s upcoming webinar. Submit your questions about open enrollment to MONEYQUESTIONS@YAHOO.COM and they may be answered by experts in an upcoming Yahoo!Finance Facebook Live Chat Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 2 p.m. EST.