Funding your altruism



By Eliseo "Jojo" Prisno, CRPC, MS Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

What is altruism? Sociologist defines altruism as an act to promote someone else's welfare, even at a risk or cost to ourselves.

Though some believe that humans are fundamentally self-interested, recent research suggests otherwise: Studies have found that people’s first impulse is to cooperate rather than compete; that toddlers spontaneously help people in need out of a genuine concern for their welfare. This perspective obviously suggest that the key to our dominance in the animal kingdom is through our cooperative mindset. It is simply part of our nature to help others thus to ensure that we can perform effectively our altruistic ideas we should allocate some resources for it. The most common resource we normally devote is our time and expertise however for some people time is rare commodity. Our day to day struggle to ensure our livelihood vital to our existence in society keeps us somewhat self centered and sometimes insensitive to extend help to others.

If time is a rare commodity, another asset which we can easily allocate is our financial resources. If we cannot share our talents and time, funding other people's altruistic initiatives is a perfect alternative. Everyone of us is passionate on certain causes either pertaining to environment preservation, societal interests or eradicating diseases, whatever we are passionate on there are others who are too and all we need to do is "ride" with them. The bottom line is we are trying to achieve the same goal. For most people however to giveaway a financial asset seems to be a difficult proposition which by itself needs a different mindset.

Funding Altruistic Initiatives

Funding your altruism or advocacy or ministry (pertaining to a religious endeavor) is a matter of financial discipline and investment strategy. The first step of course is to identify which advocacy you want to be part of and once your cause is found, the next step is to discover who are its champions. If you can identify yourself with your cause's champions i.e. a PVO's (Private Volunteer Organizations) or NGO's (Non-Government Organizations), try to do your due diligence if their organizational structure is adaptable to you. For example if your trust is to be mere passive donor, learn where and how to forward your financial resources to the PVO, if you want to be an active fund ranger (proactive fund raiser for the PVO) learn the organizational protocol in fund raising and how much of your time commitment is needed. Getting involved in fund ranging augments your personal resources by enticing others to join in. Augmenting your resource with others makes it easier to let go your portion because majority of the donation wouldn't come from your pocket.

If you just want to be passive benefactor create a funding strategy that wouldn't put a strain in your personal finance. To be able to do this your first step is to establish a seed fund. This seed fund must be on top of and independent from your other funding commitments i.e. 401K and IRA retirement contributions, reserved fund savings (rainy day savings), medical savings program and insurance planning. Once your target base is met, estimate the potential passive income from investment dividends, this cash flow becomes your commitment for gifting. If the investment delivers growth and growth is realized, this surplus cash becomes your windfall gifting. The idea is to the preserve seed fund or the principal, on situations where you did not achieve any growth then you may suspend your gifting until you recover. However, to avoid this situation on a cycle where you created a windfall return, reserve a portion of the realized gains for rainy day situations.

This very basic strategy is a simple approach to fund your altruism without straining your asset base. As some people would say "the best way to gift is when you're able to look at the face of the donee" and at the end of the day if you're six feet under these assets can't be brought to where you're heading. To invest in equities or stocks always work with an investment professional properly licensed to deal with securities.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Eliseo Jojo Prisno is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC).He founded P/E Capital Investments in 2010, a State Registered Investment Advisory Firm (CRD# 172695) and is currently the firm’s Managing Director and Senior Investment Advisor. Mr. Prisno also manages a Fund of Funds investment program with Ameritas and runs an All-Equity Growth and Income customized portfolios in separate accounts via E*Trade Securities. If you have questions email or call 1-888-929-2825. Visit our website


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