My parents taught me a lot of life lessons growing up, one of the most valuable being "It’s better to give than to receive.” When Mom and Dad shared this virtue, it was part of a lesson in the value of generosity -- if you give something, the recipient will enjoy it and you will feel good about it, too.
As I grew older, my reasons for giving became more complex, reflecting the world around me. The rewards became more varied as well. I give for personal reasons, for social reasons, and also for financial reasons. In all cases, I reap the rewards of generosity but in different ways.
Charitable giving is good for the soul, good for our communities, and can be good for our pocketbook too. As a man of faith, I am called to help the less fortunate and build my community in a positive direction. As a financial advisor, I encourage charitable giving because I know it will benefit my clients.
The Value of Giving
According to Psychological Science, altruism or the philosophy of generosity can actually be taught and developed. A 2013 study showed that observing other people’s suffering causes changes in the brain. If we observe someone else having difficulties and have the ability to help, we’re more likely to show compassion.
There are many reasons why giving is good for us:
Good for Our Well-Being - Ryan Messmore with The Heritage Foundation reports that people who donate to charity regularly are more likely to call themselves “very happy.” People who report that they give infrequently are 3½ times more likely to call themselves “not happy at all.”
Good for Our Country - Messmore writes that charitable donations not only feel good but also boost the economy. A 1 percent boost in giving nationwide can equate to increasing the U.S. Gross Domestic Product by $36 billion. Local economies benefit, and the bonds of local communities grow stronger.
Good for the Future - One way to preserve your legacy is by creating an endowment at a local college or university, which can be as simple as a small sum granted to a deserving student wanting to begin or continue studies. Bankrate says it’s easy to establish an agreement with a school’s development office, including being able to select what type of degree program or financial level of the recipients. This allows you to leave a legacy with a huge impact on a young person's education.
Good for Your Financial Health - As outlined in this article on Charity Navigator (a great website that helps you determine which charities do the most good with your donations), donating to a qualified charitable organization may entitle you to a deduction against your income tax. This both decreases your tax burden and increases the value of your donation. As Charity Navigator notes, "if you are in the 33 percent tax bracket, the actual cost of a $100 donation is only $67" due to an income tax deduction of $33.
Charitable Giving Boosts You Up
There are countless reasons to donate, and many philanthropic organizations that benefit from our generosity. Let your passion and your conscience be your guide. Choose a cause you are passionate about and make a difference. Whether you choose to donate to a church or religious institution, a school, a research group, or an international aid organization, your contribution helps make the world a brighter place.
At Lindsey & Lindsey, we know the value of charitable giving on a personal level, a community level, and a financial level. We love working with our clients to determine the right strategy for their contributions.
Where do you give? And how do you see the value of charitable donations in your life? Tweet us @Lindsey2Wealth to share your perspective!