Surprising Benefits of Charitable Giving

Why giving matters, even in difficult times.

The season of charitable giving is hard upon us, and for many, there is more need than ever. Many of us are also feeling the pinch of a difficult economy, potential job and income loss, and an uncertain future.

It’d be easy enough to justify cutting back on charitable giving, or not giving at all when things are tough. After all, we do have to put on our own oxygen masks first, right?

We’d never advocate putting your own finances in jeopardy, but with some guidance and financial planning, giving can be an important and affordable part of building wealth and forming a positive relationship with money for life. The positive psychological, health and financial benefits of giving are clear. Here are a few to help stoke the flames of generosity:

  • Giving makes people happy. A recent study found that giving to charitable organizations is positively related to life satisfaction. And more is more: The more a household gives as a percentage of income, the higher the household’s life satisfaction.
  • You feel amazing. A 2007 study found that giving activated pathways in the brain linked to reward processing, creating a euphoric “helper’s high” when we are generous.
  • The less you make, the more happiness you feel. The feel-good impact is greater in middle- and lower-income households, according to research. For households where charitable decisions are driven by women and more than two percent of their incomes are given to charity, households making less than $100,000 per year experience more of a boost in life satisfaction from giving than those making $100,000 or more.
  • You live longer. People who give more lead happier, healthier lives. A University of California, Berkley study showed that people over 55 who volunteered for two or more organizations had a 44% lower chance of dying than less altruistic people.
  • You can lower your tax bill. Generally speaking, if you itemize deductions you may deduct contributions to most charitable organizations up to 50 percent of your adjusted gross income, as long as those contributions go to a tax-exempt nonprofit.

Feel Good Now:

Colorado Gives DayColorado Gives Day is coming! Each December, this annual statewide movement celebrates and increases philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. The $1 Million Incentive Fund made possible by Community First Foundation, FirstBank and other community members boosts the value of every donation. Make your donations on on Dec. 8 or schedule in advance.

Aspen Wealth Strategies believes that wealth management is rooted in relationships—including those we make within our communities and with nonprofits that make our world a better place. Let us help you make a plan for doing well AND doing good. Click here to connect with an adviser today.

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