Do you have any advice for deciding which charities to give money to during the holidays? —Danny
There are so many great organizations out there. It’s virtually impossible to pick three or four and say with any certainty they’re the best.
I think the amount of diligence you put into the decision-making process should correspond directly to the amount of money you’re giving. There’s no reason to spend hours in exhaustive study over a $20 donation. However, you’d want to put some time and thought into research if the amount is $2,000.
In situations like this I’d want full disclosure. I’d like to know the expense ratios and how much money goes toward administrative costs. Every organization has bills to pay and salaries to consider, but you don’t want overhead to eat up 90 percent of every dollar donated.
Helping a good cause is wonderful, but you’ve got to be reasonable and wise about these things. Don’t feel bad about asking to visit a site and take a tour. Lots of times you can get a feel for what’s going on by just walking around and gauging the people you encounter. Regardless, the bigger the gift, the more time you should spend investigating! —Dave
My husband doesn’t like dealing with money. For years, I’ve handled everything from paying the bills to making the decisions. This makes things really hard on me, but he says financial issues cause him stress. Do you have any suggestions? —Carol Lee
Dear Carol Lee:
The plain truth is you need your husband to step up and be a man. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but it’s unfair for you alone to carry the weight of all financial and household decisions. It would be unfair, too, if he were the one carrying it all. This isn’t a gender issue.
My wife and I are involved in all the decisions in our home, and that’s especially true when it comes to money. We do a budget, and we decide together where the money’s going. It’s not a situation where she’s a little girl and her daddy named Dave takes care of her. That’s the kind of thing you’ve got going. You feel like his mom rather than his wife, and that’s not what a healthy marriage is about.
You need to sit down with him and explain why this is so important to you and how it makes you feel. You’re not asking him to be a number cruncher, but he has to grow up and become part of the team. You can play the role of CFO and write all the checks. But together you are the board of directors. You just need 15 to 20 minutes of his time each week, so you guys can discuss what’s going on and how to handle things—together!
I’d recommend you both read two articles that you’ll find on my website at daveramsey.com:
• Nerds and Free Spirits Can Unite Over the Budget
• Four Things to Talk About Before Marriage