I really don’t buy into the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and such tom-foolery, but Giving Tuesday is something I can get behind. There are many wonderful charities that need your help, and for those unsure here is a short list you could use. Make sure you give to them and not over arching “charities”, they take too much for Management Fees.
Charities that Need Your Help:
You shouldn’t really need a specific day to give, Charity is an important part of any financial plan. It is also near the end of the year, money you give now counts towards this years taxes! Keep that in mind. You could give Charity as a Christmas gift too.
As an employee of the government every year the GCWCC canvasses employees to give to charities of their choice. The past few years those donations have been lower due to the Phoenix Pay system issues.
I have participated in this program for many years, but I suspect this year will be my last for a few reasons.
The primary reason is the overhead charged by the United Way to administer this program for the Government. The program has negotiated a lowering of the normal fees the United Way takes 26% or higher of money donated.
Currently the Government program claims to only be losing 15% (up to a maximum of $750 per year) to United Way management fees.
The 15% fee is not exactly what you think either. My Church did a bit of research and in fact, because I want to donate using a “payroll donation”, there is an “additional 5% adjustment due to “pledge loss“. This means 20% of the money I give will get scraped off for admin fees.
My Payroll Donations Plans for Next Year
I realize that charities have overhead costs, but this fee schedule is too much. To scrape over 20% from a donation, is a non-starter for me. Next year I will simply give directly and figure out a way to do pay roll donations in a more roundabout way (i.e. putting money in a separate account, and make donations quarterly to specific charities).
The business of charity always upsets me. I have learned enough about it that I keep wondering why does it cost so much to try to help people ?
As most Canadians hear every few weeks, the pay system for the federal Civil Service has been updated, and the new system (called Phoenix) has had many problems, which has caused many serious problems for Civil Servants. These issues are being addressed, but there are still many issues with the new system. I am not affected by this system.
Folks have had to declare bankruptcy, have seen their credit rating destroyed, defaulted on mortgages, and many other serious issues. Who is to blame? I won’t touch on that point, but there is plenty of blame to go around.
One of the side effects is that the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign has suffered. Most Civil Servants are petrified to make any change that would cause their Phoenix profile to change. Evidently profile changes have caused Phoenix Issues (like stoppage of pay, wild changes in pay levels, etc.,).
Charities Paying the Price
This paralysis of profiles has meant that folks have not enrolled in the GCWCC or increased their charitable donations either. Many folks haven’t done this because they are recovering from Phoenix Issues, but still more are just afraid of what the changes might cause.
Let us hope the pay system issues with Phoenix are resolved (I say that both as a taxpayer and a Civil Servant) soon. I know the charities in Ottawa are hoping for resolution soon as well.
As part of Lent, I am reflecting on my previous writings a little more, and this little chestnut was from 5 years ago, however, I have done some editing as well.
Mardi Gras was on Tuesday, so that means that Lent begins today and this is a perfect opportunity for folks to start something new with their Personal Finances (and their spiritual life, if they wish as well). Easter is a time for new beginnings or restarting something you need to resume, however, most people view Lent as a time to “find something to give up”. That is one way of viewing your Lenten journey, but another way is to look for something to Enrich your life for the 40 days of Lent (leading up to Good Friday and Easter).
Financial Lenten Journey
What areas of your personal finances could use either Enrichment or Better still a sacrifice that might help your financial well being? There are some very simple ones that I think about every year (and have done a few of them):
- The Latte withdrawal penance. Cut out buying coffee for the 40 days of Lent and put that money aside, to either save, give to charity or pay down your debt. Keep track of this and see how much money you might be saving here, it’s worthwhile finding out where this discretionary money is going.
- Read 4 Personal Finance books over the 40 days to enrich your understanding of your personal finances or your investing adventures. Building up your expertise over Lent is a good thing.
- Brown bag it for 40 days, give up buying lunch at work, and bring your lunch instead. Another way to find out where your discretionary spending is going.
- Take the bus to work for Lent. Leave the car at home, buy a bus pass and take the Bus to work. Yes gas is cheaper right now, but not driving might have other benefits for you (less stress, more exercise, etc.,).
- Live on cash for 40 days and get rid of your credit cards. Freeze them in your freezer, lock them in your safety deposit box, or cut them up, but live on CASH only (no debit either) and see if you can do it, does it change your spending habits?
Think about these or suggest others, I am open to suggestions myself.