Time and money donated are down amidst concerns over the economy
A majority of ultra-wealthy households are committed to using their wealth to help others, but a heightened level of concern over the U.S. economy appears to have taken a toll on how much of their time and money they are willing to give.
Make no mistake, the ultra-wealthy (with a net worth of at least $25 million, not including primary residence) are strongly committed to charitable contributions. In the last year, 22 percent gave $100,000 or more, the highest percentage at this donation level, according to a Millionaire Corner wealth level survey conducted in June and July of this year. But with more than three-quarters (79 percent) concerned about the U.S. economy, charitable contributions overall have taken a hit.
A majority (54 percent) said that using their wealth to help others was a priority. This is down significantly from 68 percent in our 2010 ultra-wealthy study. Less than half (46 percent) rank among their concerns leaving their wealth to worthwhile causes after they pass away.
Charitable donations are much bigger priority to baby boomers (66 percent) and seniors (62 percent) than they are to households under the age of 55 (55 percent). The disparity is even wider among those who place an importance on leaving their wealth to worthwhile causes after they die. Forty-nine percent of boomers and 56 percent of seniors rank this as one of their concerns vs. 35 percent of those under 55.
The ultra-wealthy also seem to have less time on their hands for charitable causes. A quarter of respondents said they do not give any of their time, compared with 18 percent in 2010. Twenty-nine percent said they donate up to 49 hours of their time, down from 37 percent two years ago. Similarly, those who donate between 50 and 99 hours is down slightly from 13 percent in 2010 to 10 percent. However, there has been an uptick from 16 percent to 20 percent of those who donate between 100-199 hours, Those who donate at least 200 hours of their time annually is basically unchanged at 16 percent.
Not surprisingly, the youngest among the ultra-wealthy are the most likely to donate up to 49 hours of their time to charitable causes, while seniors, seemingly with more time on their hands are the most likely to donate more than 100 hours.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.