Posted by Frugal on 13th March 2011
The earthquake disaster in Japan has been terrible. My prayers go to all the suffering victims. I have been trying to find a good charity for the earthquake in New Zealand, and unfortunately there comes another one, and bigger.
On Yahoo’s news, it listed 8 charities for donation. American Red Cross is one of them. However, after some research digging at CharityNavigator.org and google, I won’t be giving my money to American Red Cross.
Most of the American charities could be as corrupted as other big institutions. Majority of all big charities have a CEO that gets paid for $300K to $600K annually. If you find a charity CEO that is only paid at about $200K, it’s pretty good already. American Red Cross pays its CEO $446,867, with the highest salaried at $566,629. What bothers me the most is that the past poor handling of American Red Cross in Katrina and Haiti. In fact, there seems to be a consistent record of such at Red Cross.
While I don’t want to put any final words or judgment on American Red Cross, I plan to give my money to Americares or Convoy of Hope. All of the amount of my donated money is hard-earned, and I want to share it with the poor victims, not the highly salaried CEOs.
One day when I can retire from my day job, I hope to start a charity. I would not take any payment from doing it because that was how naive I have always thought how any charities should have been run.
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Posted by Frugal on 16th February 2011
I used to donate blood before I have children. With small children in the family, my life is always extremely busy and circles around children. This year however I finally made a vow to donate blood as often as I can. What made me a little sad is that because of all the constraints & regulation, even if I donate at maximum possible frequency which is every 56 days, or about 6 times a year, there is only so much blood that I can give (1 pint per visit). Human lifetime is so limited, and we can only give so much. I was going to fill up my office wall with Red Cross stickers. I guess I won’t be able to do that.
Even though I’m often so busy that I don’t even have 1 hour to spare for blood donation, that one hour is probably the best relaxation time for me for months. I lie there, staring at the fluorescent lights, imagining how helpless the sick people must have been at the hospitals lying on the same beds. And I always make a prayer during the blood donation that whoever receives my blood can recover as soon as possible with God’s granted grace. Yeah, sometimes the donated blood won’t get used in the allowable time, but that is just part of the business.
To be able to donate blood, one obviously must be healthy. The last time I donated blood, Red Cross told me that if my diastolic blood pressure is more than 100, I won’t be able to continue to donate blood. I measured 100 exactly. She advised me to start taking my blood pressure medicine, and don’t delay anymore. When I came home, my 4 year old kept staring at the bandage around my elbow. Finally, his curiosity overcame him. He asked me what happened to me. I told him that I gave blood. And he couldn’t understand. Then I showed him a youtube on blood donation. He was a little scared, a little amazed, and somewhat confused. I hope one day when he grows up, he will understand and also donate blood for good.
I have always made it imperative to teach my children about charity. I want them to understand that how lucky they are to enjoy all the material things around them, and that if ever we own anything, it is given by God. We all come to this world with nothing, and we will leave this world with nothing. I am not sure if my kids will understand all of these one day, but I have great faith & hopes just by looking into their innocent eyes.
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Posted by Frugal on 29th October 2007
This year I still have about $2000 left for my charity giving budget. But I haven’t found a good charity to donate to. I only have about one month left to do it, because I will be traveling internationally to visit my parents at the end of the year.
The biggest problem that I have with charities is that their CEO is paid way too much. Many are paid north of $150K up to $200K. Some are even paid more than $300K to $500K. Charity Navigator did a study on 2007 CEO compensation study for charities. The average salary is $145,270. The charity may say whatever they want, but the fact is non-profit also means no-profit. A CEO (or superintendent for a school district) for non-profit organizations is after all very different from a for-profit organization. There is no gross margin or pricing issues for products. The only effect from a better paid CEO and/or less efficiently organization is that the target that they serve ends up with less money. Taking money out of what poor people would receive is much easier than taking money out from a competitive and capitalistic marketplace of products.
I’m sure the salary is justified for some of the CEO, but I don’t have time to sift through all the details. Furthermore, when I need to justify for why I’m not spending my $2000 on my wife for jewelries or on my kids for more fancy toys, I must really spend my charity money for a VERY GOOD purpose. Every year, I easily donate more cash to charity than my total spending on jewelries for my wife and toys for my kids. But my wife understands that charity donation is spent for good purposes. Departing from your own cash is difficult certainly, but it is just part of the process needed to learn the truth about how every human being is part of the God’s family.
If you can know a charity that is involved with children and/or hunger (the causes that my wife and I are most interested in), and that 95% of the money goes to non-admin and non-advertisement activities, and the CEO’s salary is about $100K or less, please let me know. I would really appreciate it. Many thanks.
Posted in Estate & gift, Miscellany | 33 Comments »
Posted by Frugal on 15th August 2006
My biggest financial blunder is not using my parental gifts wisely. Most people don’t use their parental gifts wisely and spend through it. I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum. I didn’t use it wisely, because I did NOT use it.
If you have read the composition of my 1st million dollar, the money given by my parents was definitely not a small amount. But I did not considered it as mine for a long time. In fact, after my parents gave me the money, I simply left it under the control of my parents for probably 5 years before I had it transfered to under my control for the purpose of investing, but not spending. I have not spent a dime from that amount of money my parents have given me. I have always treasured the gift and vowed to pass it on to their grand children. I guess maybe the reason that my parents were willing to give me a significant sum of money to me is precisely because that they know me that I will NOT use the money on unworthy purposes.
But it did not occur to me much later that not using the money is NOT equal to using the money wisely. When I bought my current residence, I could have bought a bigger home, more commensurate to my networth. However, my consideration for home was more of an usage or spending, rather than an asset or as an investment. Because I treated buying a home more as a spending, I did not consider using the gift money from my parents at all. Certainly, with $90K less in my pocket, my choice for home was quite different than what it could have been, especially when my networth was much smaller at that time. With housing market gone up crazily, cash was certainly not a good investment. Eventually, I transferred those cash over for putting them into better investment. But I cannot go back to fix my financial blunder.
You may think that I may be the very few persons who don’t take the parental gifts into the pocket right away. Actually, I married another such person. My parents-in-law also gave my wife and I some $30K cash as a wedding gift (at the same time as the $90K from my parents for our wedding gift too). She never took it. She asked me whether I am okay with it, and I told her that I had no problem at all. My wife is very filial, and she thinks that her parents can use those money better than we do. In fact, I also told my wife that her parents can always count on my financial help anytime as long as they may need it and within what I can afford to help. Of course, my wife did not deny her parents’ gift, but rather left the money under her parents’ control. Till this day, I’ve never counted that $30K as part of my networth even though my parents-in-law still have it available for us.
Posted in Estate & gift, Miscellany | 13 Comments »