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Giving Half

July 15th, 2014
giving, money  [html]

Starting with 2014, I'm going to try and donate half of what I earn to the most effective organizations I can find. This isn't entirely new, but it's an increase and a simplification from past years. Julia and I had built a bit of a complex system, with different rules [1] and percentages, and it just made incentives too weird. We wanted something simple, so now we're both giving 50%.

It's funny: when I originally decided to start donating, back in 2009 I wanted to go for half, but at the time that turned out to be pushing myself too hard. Five years of optimizing later it's much more doable.

I think 2014 will look something like this:

50% donations
23% taxes
21% saving
6% spending

(I'm planning to leave my Giving What We Can pledge at 30%, because I don't know if I'll always be able to do 50%. In particular, wages for programmers are high now because there's lots of demand, but I expect this to fade at some point.)

[1] One of the weird things was that some things were in terms of pre-tax income and others were post-tax. For example, the percentages on the donations page are currently post-tax. There are arguments both ways, but I want simple and I think pre-tax is simpler. I'll update the donations page once I have final 2014 numbers.

Update 2014-12-20: The donations page now has 2014 numbers, and I've rewritten it to be pre-tax.

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