January 2017 Money Diary: A Family Setback



Family Happens

Ivan here. We took a $749 charge in January related to a family setback (filed under: Life Happens). This was partially offset by an increase in freelance income and a $500 cash bonus for opening a Chase checking and savings account.

We care less about the dollar amount. What’s frustrating is that not only was this the second time we’ve had to fix the same issue, none of it would’ve been necessary had we known about the problem two weeks earlier. I wish I were joking. 

Jennie has more to say about this in her next blog post. Just a few points on my end:

  • I get it. Life happens. Sometimes we all need a helping hand. 
  • It’s frustrating that a stranger off the street is more likely to be candid about their financial struggles than our own family
  • Shame, ego, and tying your problems to your sense of self-worth is unproductive and makes things more expensive to fix in the long run 

Is it too much to ask that we hear about family problems as soon as they happen, and not eight months later after things have spiraled out of control? 

/end rant


How We Handle Setbacks

Jennie is far better equipped when it comes to dealing with setbacks. Part of it is because of her upbringing, the other is probably her naturally sweet and not at all authoritarian disposition. 

I on the other hand, have experienced no hardship worth mentioning in my life. This means when something unexpected happens, there’s always a part of me that wants to act like a petulant child. 




Charitable Giving Update

January was a wash for volunteering (no excuses) but we will be putting volunteer hours in February at the International Rescue Committee in Los Angeles. In our goals for 2017, we pledged at least $1,000 in donations and 1 hour per week to charity. We’re committed to meeting or exceeding that amount. We also want to do this in a thoughtful way.

We strongly disagree with the practice of charitable giving based on the most recent headline. 

Take the ACLU. It’s a great organization fighting for a worthwhile cause. But $24.1 million dollars in a single weekend for legal advocacy? That seems excessive. 

Here's our charitable giving strategy for 2017: 

  • We’ll spend our time on domestic causes.
  • We’ll spend our dollars abroad (at least $250 every quarter). 

Assuming all lives are of equal value, $1 goes the furthest when deployed abroad because of the USD's historically high purchasing power. 

For example, donating to the Deworming Initiative could make a dramatic and immediate difference to the lives of children suffering from anemia, malnourishment, and impaired mental and physical development. Mass deworming also costs around $0.50 per individual treatment, which is two lives changed for every dollar. For some reason, this program is woefully underfunded. Couldn't afford CNN coverage, I guess. 

Faced with that kind of dollar impact, excuse us for not giving a rat's ass about "America First."