web analytics
September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


When Giving Charity Enables Bad Habits

Sometimes, you need to be the recipient of your own tzedakah because the bottom line is that you are the only person who can really help yourself.
Goldstein 485x300

A few weeks ago, I received a telephone call from a well-meaning young woman. She was making cold calls from a list of members of the local community to ask for donations for a poor family. “The parents have no money. Both of them are working, but they can’t make ends meet. Right now, they and their five children are living in a very small rented apartment with no beds and debts that are impossible to pay,” she told me.

But while I felt very sorry for this family, I wondered if the answer was to simply raise money and hand them a check. (Before you read any further, don’t think I am suggesting that charity is a bad idea. Quite the opposite! I encourage everyone to try to give 20% of their income to charity. See this great example of kids giving charity.)

As I don’t know the particular circumstances of this individual family, I can’t say too much about their specific situation. However, many times I’ve noticed how families enter the cycle of debt because they have never been taught how to use their money properly. Even if both parents are working, they can drown in debts that may have started right from the beginning of their life together. Perhaps when they first got married, they were so sure of their new independence and life together that they didn’t stop to think how much money they were spending. Right at the beginning, they wanted a new dining room set, or they decided that as a young couple they should eat out at restaurants twice a week. They wanted to start out with an easy lifestyle. Perhaps they wanted to live higher than their parents who had nothing, or maybe they didn’t want to face a drop in the high standards that they enjoyed while living at home during their single years until they could make enough money to be able to maintain that kind of lifestyle themselves.

There could be so many reasons, but the underlying cause of the problems of many families is insufficient financial education and learned negative spending habits. If you grow up in a home where there is no concept of saving, and borrowing from one loan fund to pay off enough is considered as standard financial behavior, it’s very likely that you will end up inheriting the same bad fiscal habits unless you make an effort to learn differently.

The greatest gift that you can give to someone who needs your financial assistance because they are overwhelmed with debts is to encourage them to help themselves. While your check can pay off their current debt, it will only act as a Band-Aid, keeping them out of trouble until the next time. But if you can encourage them to look for a better-paid job, take a course on budgeting and money management, and to open a savings plan at the bank, you are giving them something that is a lot more valuable than any money.

Of course, charity doesn’t only mean giving to others. Sometimes, you need to be the recipient of your own tzedakah because the bottom line is that you are the only person who can really help yourself. So if you want to know more about planning for retirement, saving, and running your personal finances more effectively, start by reading self-help articles, attending budgeting courses, and adopting better monetary habits.

About the Author: Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, is the director of Profile Investment Services, Ltd, a financial planning and investment services firm located in Jerusalem. He specializes in working with clients who live outside of the United States and want to maintain a U.S. brokerage account. Doug’s newest book, co-authored with Susan Polgar, about how using chess strategies to improve your finances, Rich As A King can be purchased at www.richasaking.com. He is a licensed financial professional both in the U.S. and Israel. Securities offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. Accounts held at Pershing LLC., Member NYSE/SIPC, a subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. Neither Profile nor PRG gives tax or legal advice. Before immigrating to Israel, it is advisable to consult with a tax attorney who is knowledgeable about Israeli law. Contact at doug@profile-financial.com

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “When Giving Charity Enables Bad Habits”

  1. the key, doug, imho, is to not only strive for rambam's highest level of giving (giving someone a handup instead of a handout), but to do the due diligence required to be sure that the recipient is indeed in need. way too many problems with giving tzedakah out there….please give wisely!

  2. Diana Davidson Lerner says:

    absolutely!

  3. Harry Cohen says:

    How about striving to Rambam's level of science and medicine in Haredi schools?

  4. at my church we have needy families and we all contribute to help them, but they also have to take advise from the elders how to minimize their debts and spend wisely.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
President Obama in the fog.
US Says It Doesn’t Even Know How Many Americans Live in West Bank
Latest Blogs Stories
obamatargetiran

No one wants war; sometimes there’s no choice. Sometimes it’s the lesser of 2 evils. US must prepare

Palestinians attack an Israeli soldier during clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters, Aug28, 2015, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah.

Despite many IDF soldiers jailed for defending themselves, families say,”Rather jailed than dead.”

Someone should alert this man: Dani Dayan, Chairman of the Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council.

Why won’t the gov’t finally annex YESHA & Jordan Valley formalizing their status in State of Israel?

Jewish Press Blogger, Selena Chait

Both “Half-Shabbat” & R’ Yosef’s opinion champion an extreme. There most certainly is a happy medium

Trump’s slogan and story gives American restores hope to dream to: “Make America Great Again”

Is GDP outdated an measure of prosperity? Are there any alternative methods of assessing $ growth?

In their attack on Ban Ki Moon, Hamas admitted to committing a different war crime.

The ideal of Modern Orthodoxy should be not be viewed as a compromise the way most Charedim view it.

Israel shouldn’t rely on US; It has an awful record in protecting allies.

The Halacha of shmirat einayim (guarding one’s eyes) is incumbent on the MAN; it’s his obligation

Dem. presidential candidate Doug Shreffler talks about his campaign & its motto “as good as it gets”

I’ve decided to move away from my safety net-and I wouldn’t change that decision for anything.

Was “Jerusalem” the song Matisyahu planned to perform? It was the PERFECT response to BDS campaign

If the world’s winds of hatred bring Jews to Israel we are ready, joyfully offering them a home here

At what age should the realization start setting in for kids that we live in an uncertain society?

More Articles from Doug Goldstein, CFP®
Doug Goldstein

Is GDP outdated an measure of prosperity? Are there any alternative methods of assessing $ growth?

Doug Goldstein

Dem. presidential candidate Doug Shreffler talks about his campaign & its motto “as good as it gets”

How does the Iranian deal affect anti-terrorist legislation adopted by a number of US states?

Why are wealthy people less likely to gossip? So if you get rich you’ll cut down on Lashon Hora!

What has made Israeli innovative startups world leaders in high tech?

Author Gail Reynolds offers great advice for Mom’s wanting to build a business around their families

How can you remove anxiety and worry from retirement planning?

What is peer-to-peer (P2P) networking? How does it help you access what you want in the internet?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/goldstein-on-gelt/when-giving-charity-enables-bad-habits/2013/01/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: