Cheap in Amercia, Who Gives? Who Doesn't?
I half-watched (while working) a special 20/20 on ABC last night that focused on charitable giving in America. I am not usually a fan of the show, but the topic peaked my interest so I decided to take it in.
A couple key take aways for me:
"The most charitable people in America are the working poor"
The people that gave away the highest percentage of their money were the working poor. They also had a graph that was U-shaped showing that the middle class is the least giving (compared to the rich and poor). Kind of surprising - I would have thought the opposite.
Billionaire's Reasons For Not Giving More to Charitable Causes:
- I give enough already - Pretty self explanatory.
- Can't spend/invest it effectively - They have so much to give away, they can't find good opportunities to make charitable investments. It actually makes sense to me, these smart people don't want to waste their money, they want to see tangible results.
- I don't have enough to give - They discussed this with Ted Turner and I laughed. He rambled off the same reasons that some poor person like me would use to not give more. Most of the money is tied up in investments (paper wealth); he is worried about Social Security going broke and wants to make sure he is financially able to support himself; economic uncertainty, he already lost $8 billion of value in his Time Warner ownership, he could quickly lose the rest.
- I need to make more, so I can give more - Warren Buffett argued this for years, and its a valid point. These people are good at accumulating wealth; it makes sense for them to use their financial means to accumulate more wealth so they will be able to give more in the end. Its a valid up to a point. What’s the point of accumulating all this wealth if you can't see it put to good use?
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