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LOUISE FAIRSAVE: Giving money away


LOUISE FAIRSAVE: Giving money away

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GIVING MONEY or money’s worth to a charitable and humanitarian cause has been identified as a ritual of wealth – an important aspect of spending wisely. Some religions encourage tithing of ten per cent of one’s income to the church and the clergy.

Yet, there are two competing ideas that are likely to come quickly to mind.

The first is that most of us can hardly save ten per cent of what we earn for ourselves. How could we even dream of giving away such a princely sum? The solution is to start the giving programme in a small way and expect other areas of your life also to start to fall into place. Bit by bit, you can expect to find yourself moving closer and more comfortably towards a larger giving goal as well as towards achieving your other financial goals.

The basic lessons are ones of self-discipline and self-control. The commitment to give generously will create a perspective on life that will advance every other area of your life. The important step is to start to improve your giving habit. Then, you may suddenly find it is easier to save even more than you did in the past, either as a result of a reduction in your wants or of new opportunities for earning. You will start to consider the money in your life differently.

Focusing on what you can contribute to assist others – a relative, community member, work colleague or just fellow human – can create a profound sense of meaning and self-worth. In addition, such giving tends to increase the sense of gratitude for your own life and the ability to create value beyond your own needs (as against your wants). 

Then, noting that life can be so unpredictable, you or your close relative may someday find yourself in need as a widow, orphan, homeless person or a person who is broke or in need of funds for a remedy for a health concern.

The second idea is that of tithing ten per cent of your income to God’s purpose. Some church leaders maintain that there is no biblical requirement for this practice. Others maintain that it is a desirable spiritual ritual: it is important to place your money where your heart is. There is a strong belief that if you rob your God of His due, one will be forced to give the same amount or more to the negative experiences of life such as theft, fire, unemployment, ill-health, financial setbacks and so on. This all depends on your faith.

The advice to develop a giving habit is sound. Indeed, the merit of such a habit is supported by tax incentives. It is possible to contribute tax-free up to ten per cent of your assessable income to a charity (or group of charities) of your choice. However, some persons believe that, on principle, no personal income tax relief should be sought for such acts of generosity.

It is now much simpler to make contributions to charitable causes and claim the related tax relief. No longer is it necessary to prepare a formal covenant and have it registered and approved by the Barbados Revenue Authority. Nor is it necessary to submit receipts. The onus now falls on the charity to upload your donation to your online tax file each year as an automatic deduction from your assessable income up to the permitted limit.

It is continuingly important to give to your community, nationally and internationally, wherever and whenever it is possible. The spotlight of giving is on all of us, on what we are willing to sacrifice personally. Do let this light show positive happenings when it reaches you.

Louise Fairsave is a personal financial management adviser, providing practical advice on money and estate matters. Her advice is general in nature; readers should seek advice about their specific circumstances. Email [email protected]

This column is sponsored by the Barbados Workers’ Union Co-op Credit Union Ltd.