Charitable contributions are higher priority than political donations
In a stagnant economy, households with a net worth of at least $25 million say that using their wealth for charitable and worthwhile causes has become less of a priority over the last five years, according to a new Millionaire Corner wealth level study.
Fifty-four percent of respondents said that using their wealth to help others was a primary personal concern, down from 68 percent two years ago and from 66 percent in 2007. Less than half (46 percent) said they are concerned about leaving their wealth to worthwhile causes after they pass on, down from 55 percent in 2010 and 60 percent in 2007.
The ultra wealthy are spending more on charitable causes than they are on political contributions. Just over one-third of respondents (34 percent) said they do not earmark any money for political contributions, compared with just 10 percent who say they do not contribute anything to charity.
While almost half of the ultra wealthy (45 percent) making political contributions in the $1-$9,999 range with no more than 10 percent making political contributions above $10,000, they spread the wealth further when it comes to charitable contributions with 24 percent donating between $1-$9,999, 18 percent giving $10,000-$24.999, 16 percent offering $25,000-49,999, 10 percent contributing $50,000 to $99,999, and almost one-quarter (22 percent) donating $100,000 or more.
Each of these percentages is down from 2010 when we last surveyed $25 million and up households.
Down, too, is the number of hours of which the ultra wealthy are donating their time.
The percentage of ultra wealthy who do not donate any of their time to charitable causes has increased in the last two years from 18 percent to 25 percent. Likewise, 29 percent said they donate up to 49 hours of their time, down from 37 percent in 2010, whereas 37 percent in 2010 said they donate up to 49 hours. A slightly higher percentage, though are donating between 100-199 hours of their time, 20 percent compared with 16 percent two years ago.
The majority of ultra wealthy are putting their money where their hearts are. Sixty percent said they tend to donate to causes in which they are most passionately invested. Fifty-four percent donate to the same organizations year after year and said they are reluctant to donate to new charitable causes. Older baby boomers ages 55-65 and seniors 66 and up are the most likely to express these attitudes.
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.