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Charities I Support and Why
My charitable giving is not predicated upon religion or religious belief; I haven’t contributed to a church in more than a decade. However, I am not afraid to take words from the Bible, or any other religious tract, and integrate them into my life and worldview. I am not the kind of guy who needs the biggest bank account to feel validated so when fortune smiles my way I selectively contribute to causes I feel make a difference in the quality of human life around the world.
Selecting a charitable entity to contribute to is a process for me. I donate to only a few causes with donation tending to be $1,000 or more per donation. My giving is also lumpy. I go for extended periods without any charitable work and then give large amounts at one time. Taxes are not a part of my consideration process, but I do take the deductions allowed. Some of my charitable giving is not deductible on Schedule A. Some charitable work is considered a promotional expense for my business which allows me to kill two birds with one stone: helping a charity and getting a deduction before it ever gets to my personal tax return.
Learning to Accept Praise
We all know people who cannot accept praise for what it is worth. Any acknowledgement of a new outfit, lost weight, or new hair style is greeted with a qualifying remark meant to downplay the praise. These people lack the self-esteem to accept praise for what it is worth. The answer to someone saying they like your outfit is, “Thank you.” There is no need to downplay or qualify your acknowledgment of the praise, minor as it is. When your retort is, “This old thing” or “I got it off the dollar rack” you are slapping the person in the face for their praise. They love your outfit regardless how long you owned it or what you paid.
Qualifiers are the other end of downplaying praise. Some people need to qualify praise received. “Wealthy Accountant, you have an awesome and successful business.” “Why, thank you. I work really hard, sometimes seven days a week to keep this baby going. Should’ve retired decades ago.” It is hard to say “thank you” and leave it at that. Accepting praise is difficult due to low confidence and a deep seated fear we are unworthy. Lacking the ability to accept praise at face value can have catastrophic effects on one’s happiness, well-being, and financial security.
Do You Know a Good Attorney?
Over the years I have used attorneys for a variety of needs. When I started a hedge fund the initial deposit was $25,000 and I was happy to pay it. We laugh at lawyer jokes and sometimes lawyers deserve the bad rap they get, but most of the time attorneys are a powerful part of your team preventing expensive problems before they happen. There is a reason why they are called counselors.
I encourage landlords and business owners to keep a relationship with an attorney. Buying and selling a property requires an attorney in my opinion and landlord/tenant issues can be reduced when a lawyer is consulted before actions are taken. There are also the surprise attorney needs. Who do you call when arrested for a DUI? (The first person who says Ghostbusters will be escorted out the door.) You don’t plan on certain events in life; they just land in your lap. Business owners and landlords have greater legal needs, but the average guy on the street finds himself in need of professional help a time or two in life as well (wills, probate, trusts, sale of property, et cetera).