“When I’m rich, I’ll give.”

Do you give to charity? I’m embarrassed to say that I only very recently started giving. And it’s not that much. But I am happy, maybe a tiny bit proud, that I finally started.

When I was a resident, I said “I’ll give when I’m an attending.” That seemed logical – I wasn’t making a lot and had student loans accumulating interest every day. Then I became an attending. Then I said “I’ll give once I don’t have so many loans” or “I’ll give once I get some financial footing.”

Somewhere along the way I discovered Farnoosh Torabi’s So Money podcast. I started with her inaugural podcast with guest Tony Robbins. One part really got to me:

People say, “When I’m rich, I’ll give, they’re lying. If you won’t give a dime out of a dollar, there’s no way you’re gonna give a 100 million out of a billion, you’re lying to yourself. But if you can do it today, the biggest thing that giving does, is it teaches your brain there’s more than enough.

Right after I listened to that podcast, I made my first donation – I pledged to give a small amount quarterly to my alma mater Barnard College and specifically earmarked the funds for financial aid. I received generous financial aid in the form of grants and work-study and hope that my small contribution (which I will definitely increase soon) will help someone else attend.

For 2017 I made a modest goal to start with 1% of my base salary towards charity. Yes, this isn’t a lot, but I am starting somewhere and hope to slowly increase as a % of my base salary. I made a separate category in YNAB as well.

I have also given small amounts to:

  • Camp Discovery – a summer camp for kids with severe skin diseases
  • KACFNY aka Korean American Community Foundation of NY

You’ll notice my medical school is missing from the list. That will have to wait until the loans are paid off. I think that just only makes sense :).

Do you give? Why or why not? Who/what do you give to? 

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