Quick Hits

If you’ve ever wondered how much of your actual donation to charity goes toward the cause versus administrative and fundraising fees you’re not alone. Last year Americans donated more than $389 billion to charity and are set to beat that number this year: where's that money going?

So, “Moneyish” teamed up with the non-profit Charity Navigator to figure out which highly rated charities give the most raised funds to their causes.

The results included the following 20 high-impact organizations - all of which give 99 percent of the money they receive to the cause and have high overall ratings, in terms of financial health, accountability and transparency:

  • International Children’s Fund: 99.70 percent
  • The Foodbank of Southern California: 99.60 percent
  • CIS Development Foundation: 99.50 percent
  • Matthew 25: Ministries: 99.40 percent
  • Kids In Need Foundation: 99.40 percent
  • Brother’s Brother Foundation: 99.40 percent
  • Direct Relief: 99.40 percent
  • MAP International: 99.30 percent
  • Delivering Good: 99.30 percent
  • Books For Africa: 99.20 percent
  • Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma: 99.20 percent
  • Christian Blind Mission International: 99.20 percent
  • Midwest Food Bank, NFP: 99.20 percent
  • World Medical Relief: 99.20 percent
  • Feeding Tampa Bay: 99.10 percent
  • Feeding America’s Hungry Children: 99.10 percent
  • Caring Voice Coalition: 99.00 percent
  • Foster Care to Success: 99.00 percent
  • Good360: 99.00 percent

Charity Navigator also says it’s important to remember that while 99% is exceptional, it’s not always reasonable for charities. No matter where you give, it’s important to remember the following things, experts say:

Consider where you want to giveAsk yourself: “what is your personal mission – the causes you care about?” and also how you want to make a difference, Boulter says. So, let’s say you care about animals — you’ll want to identify charities that focus on animals and then look at how each of those organizations makes a difference in that field. If you want to change laws around animal rights, you’d likely give to a much different organization than if you want to make sure strays find nice homes.

Vet the charityWebsites can make figuring out if a charity is legit and solid pretty simple. Boulter says that sites like Charity Navigator (for those giving smaller gifts) and GuideStar (for those giving larger gifts) — both of which rate charitable organizations and give you information about them — are decent starting points for vetting charities.

Think about when to giveBoulter says you shouldn’t wait until late December to give. “Stores are not the only ones who are busy during this season. Charities, brokers and the post office are all running at capacity. If you want to get credit for your gift in 2017, it is best to do it early,” she says.

Make an even bigger impactFacebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are teaming up to match up to $2 million in funds raised for charities on Giving Tuesday, which is November 28th. Here’s how you can make sure your donation gets matched; Facebook will also waive its usual fee for making donations.

Consider the tax implicationsBe sure to note charitable donations on your tax forms. If you itemize your deductions, there is a federal income tax deduction for charitable gifts — and some states also allow charitable deductions, explains Carol Kroch, the national director of philanthropic planning at Wilmington Trust. Plus, if you’ve own stock for more than a year that has appreciated, you may want to consider gifting that to a charity, as you may be able to avoid the capital gains tax you otherwise would have paid when you sold the stock, Kroch says.

Source: New York Post

If your New Year’s resolution includes tapering your spending habits, then the Japanese have a sure way to keep you on track. It’s called a Kakeibo and the literal translation is household financial ledger.

According to the new book, “Kakeibo: The Japanese Art of Saving Money,” by Fumiko Chiba, the idea is to become more mindful in the way we look at our finances.

Each month you sit down with your kakeibo and plan out the next four week’s finances, including how much you would like to save, what your necessary monthly expenses are divided into four categories – survival (food, transport, medical), optional (takeaway, shopping, restaurants), culture (books, music, movies), extra (gifts, repairs etc) – and lastly, what you are going to do that month to reach your savings goal.

Each month, your kakeibo also asks you to answer four key questions:

  1. How much money do you have?
  2. How much would you like to put away?
  3. How much are you actually spending?
  4. How can you improve on that?

The idea introduced in 1904 by the first female Japanese journalist, Motoko Hani, and it hasn’t changed much since. Ditching the computer programs, writing out your finances, and calculating numbers by hand makes you more aware of how you’re spending money and saving.

  • ONE MORE THING! The key Japanese budgeting tip is to pre-plan where all your money is going each month, withdraw that cash amount from your account when you get paid and split the cash up into envelopes labeled with each category. You'll know exactly how much you are allowed to spend on, coffee, lunches, or shoes every month.

Source: New York Post

Living in the wine generation the idea of being able to make your own at home sounds ideal, right? SodaStream recently launched an alcohol concentrate called Sparkling Gold, and it does just that. It turns your water into wine!

Unfortunately the 'alcoholic concentrate' is only available in Germany at the moment without any plan yet for other markets, but let's face it - if it's good and it's a hit, it'll make it here. In the meantime, there are other ways to create fizzy alcoholic beverages in your SodaStream this holiday:

Simply pour a white wine into the device, fire up the machine, and you will have a sparkling wine that tastes like Champagne.

If you’re looking for a fizzy mixed drink you can always combine your favorite mixer, hard alcohol, and the carbonate to create a variety of cocktail options.

Source: Daily Mail

New study of over 800,000 people shows married couples have less risk of dementia.  Spending more time engaged with another human helps store up a cognitive reserve.  People who are sedentary are 40% more likely to develop dementia than those that are active.

Source: L.A. Times

It seems everyone takes photos to document everything they do, even when it’s just getting a coffee. So we’re used to seeing moments people capture from their lives on social media, especially the ones that show relationships moving forward, like couples getting engaged and married. But now folks are documenting the end of their marriages on Facebook and Instagram with a new trend: the divorce selfie.

In this modern age, people are snapping photos of them with their soon-to-be-ex spouse and proudly sharing the moment on social media. The divorce selfie comes in many forms: when they’re signing the papers, with the city hall clerk, outside, or over drinks when the deed is officially done. And of course, the divorce selfie is only social media official with the hashtag #divorceselfie.

And if you’re thinking this sounds a little disrespectful about such an important event, think of it like this: the divorce selfie is really just putting a positive spin on a negative moment. The couple is taking the high road in a tough situation. It’s like the “social media equivalent of conscious uncoupling.” For better or worse, this is the world we live in today.

Source: PureWow

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Jay and Dawn

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