Should you donate to charity when you are young?
Here are some statements that might be true:
- It is possible to invest money in such a way that you make more money on your investment than you lose to inflation.
- The need for charitable organizations will not disappear by the end of your lifetime.
- Problems like hunger and war have been around for thousands of years. They will continue to exist in the future.
- When donating money to certain perennial causes, the utility of your donation is dependent only on how much money you give, and not when you give it (barring certain cases like donating to a group attempting to stop an ecological disaster: money won't bring the rain forest back, but it might save it).
- For example, donating 50 dollars to hunger relief today will do as much good as donating the equivalent of 50 dollars in 20 years.
- Helping people now is not any better than helping people in the future.
- Much like how there is a continuous stream of people needing help, there is a continuous stream of people reaching the end of their lifetimes who are willing to help.
If these statements are all true, then it seems like it would be a good idea to invest any money you were planning on giving to charity and then give the returns away before you die.