Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Giving when it hurts


Frank Greve of the McClatchy Newspapers, says poor people are the most generous givers. He cites a homeless panhandler who buys a hungry friend a cheeseburger with a tenth of his net worth.

Remember net worth—people used to have that before the housing market crashed.

America’s poor give more percentage-wise than higher income groups. This is similar to how people who have been bartenders and wait staff always tip well.

You know it counts.

The poorest fifth of households gave an average of 4.3% of their income. The richest, 2.1 percent.

My late father tipped 15% on the first $10 of a check, then 10%. Why? Who knows?

Don’t forget all the undocumented money earned in the US and sent home to Mexico and other places.

Women are more generous than men. Older give more than younger. More poor people go to church—where they also give.

When I get a food bank solicitation in the mail, I send $5 or $10 in cash—don’t even bother with a check.

Female panhandlers—I probably will give.

I used to have an extremely rich client who told me once that he never gave to panhandlers. Why give them $1, when he could afford to give them $20 or $50, he asked me. So he gave nothing.

Giving or not giving is a wacky subject. I will say I am not a fan of the well-dressed con man who says he needs enough to get to a job interview. He takes your card or address and says he will send the money back.

It is such a common con--in DC, at least--that everyone knows it.

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