Money Forward

This blog is about money and trying to keep my money from flying out the window.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Can you job count as charity?

There is a lot of talk about giving to charities and how much we should give. A lot of times, giving can be pretty meaningless. We write a check and it's done with. I'm sure a lot of this money goes to wonderful things, but what about people who live their lives helping others? What about the people that take a huge pay cut to work for a cause they feel strongly about? Does this count as charity?

I was thinking about this since every few months I have the urge to go to law school. The problem is that the type of law I would want to do (environmental) generally does not pay well, and having a $100k+ debt with a low paying jobs just isn't appealing. Some people do this though. So if a lawyer who could be making $90k a year (after taxes let's say), actually works at a non-profit and makes $40k a year, do they really make a $50k a year donation to charity? If a doctor who could make $100k a year works in a clinic and makes only $45k a year, does that doctor make a $55k a year donation?

In my opinion, they do. They may not be contributing money, but a non-profit or other organization can not survive without staff members. Someone needs to do the work. Maybe it's their job, but is a job always considered non-charity because you get paid for it? I think that's unfair to those workers.

Of course the doctor and lawyer can not take a $50k or $55k deduction on their taxes or anything, but does that make them worse than the people who make a deduction every year and get to deduct that from their taxes?

I think a lot of professionals get the short end of the stick, and we rarely, if ever, find the time to really think where our world would be without them.

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