When Are You Financially Ready to Give to Charity?

Like most aspects of life, charitable giving doesn’t come with a hard-and-fast rule. There isn’t a magic number of how much you need to make before you give, or how much you should give once you achieve “it.”

Giving to charity is an act of kindness that you have complete control over. It’s dependent on your priorities and your budget. When it comes down to it, you can’t give what you don’t have, and you don’t want to put yourself in financial ruin by giving away all of your money and leaving nothing for yourself.

While there aren’t any set-in-stone rules on when you’re ready to make charitable donations, there are some key guidelines to follow that will help you feel good about what you’re giving.

1. You have a balanced budget.

Determining whether or not you can afford to donate to charity ultimately comes down to your budget. The same could be said for anything you do, really. So, if you can give, or the amount you can give, comes down to how it fits into your budget.

If you budget an appropriate amount for your expenses and savings and still have money left over, that’s a great sign that you’re ready to donate a portion to charity. Even if that amount is small, you’ll feel good about assigning a monthly amount to help others. Dave Ramsey’s budgeting forms can be a great start to understanding how much you’re spending in each area.

2. You’ve saved enough for 3 to 6 months of living expenses.

Knowing that you have a minimum of three months worth of living expenses saved will make you feel more secure in your giving. With adequate savings, you can more easily assess an amount that fits well into your budget without taking away from your day-to-day expenses.

Giving to charity should also not keep you from continuing to save. Ensure you have enough to put a reasonable amount into both parts of your budget. Without stretching yourself too thin, focus on saving first so that you keep moving toward your financial goals while still making donations.

Tip: Donating to one charity instead of multiple maximizes the benefits of your effort. Rather than giving a small amount to three charities, donate a larger amount to one. While donations from multiple people add up, imagine how much more your favorite charity can do with $150 than with $50, for example.

3. You’ve paid off all your debt.

Echoing our previous point, with less to worry about financially, you can do more when it comes to giving. Without that monthly debt bill, you have more to allot for charitable giving. Consider also that you’ll have more to give when you aren’t paying a monthly interest payment on that debt.

4. You’ve identified the best ways to give.

Of course, you can donate online or send a check in the mail, but did you know there might be better ways to give? A financial advisor can work with your charitable giving plan to identify how to maximize the benefits of your donation. An advisor will take a holistic approach to determine how your charitable giving can best fit into your overall financial health.

SageSpring is here to increase the impact of your donations. We specialize in charitable giving because we love sharing the wealth. Contact us to learn more about our approach to charitable giving and how it can help you help others.

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Jeffrey T. Dobyns


President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS 

Jeffrey T. Dobyns

President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS

Beyond crunching numbers and investment strategies, at SageSpring, we’re about building relationships. When you encounter Founder & President of SageSpring, Jeff Dobyns, it’s easy to understand why this is at the very heart of who we are as a firm. You won’t find stuffy formalities with Jeff; instead, you can expect to find him sharing a warm smile, communicating a compelling vision, or patiently untangling life’s complex challenges with clients. He believes in truly getting to know clients, understanding their aspirations and priorities, and navigating their financial plans with a tailored, comprehensive approach. Our team members have often been caught taking notes on Jeff’s effortless relationship skills from a distance, and we admire them for striving to learn from one of the best. 

Jeff’s financial expertise and wisdom are the perfect match to his innate people skills. Jeff holds the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChLU®) designations, and has held executive positions with financial planning firms for more than two decades. 

His dedication extends beyond the office to the boardroom and the local community, where Jeff is passionate about giving back. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Men of Valor, a prison ministry and mentoring program. Jeff also serves on the board of Send Musicians to Prison, which shares hope, healing and restoration with the imprisoned through musicians & artists. Jeff actively supports other initiatives in the community by sitting on the board of The Signatry of Middle Tennessee and the Halftime Institute of Nashville. 

Witnessing his four children, Gracyn, Hunter, Tanner, and Logan, excel on the field is almost just as rewarding, if not more, than celebrating the victories of seeing his clients overcome obstacles and build wealth. Spending weekends boating on the lake, hiking mountain trails, and fishing with his family are the moments Jeff cherishes most. It’s this grounded perspective that reveals the true meaning of wealth for Jeff: not just numbers on a page, but the freedom to create experiences that enrich your life and the lives of those you love. When you choose the Dobyns McMillin Wealth Team, you choose more than financial expertise. You choose a partner who champions your dreams, celebrates your victories, and walks besides you on the path to achieving your unique goals.

**Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.