Ellen Painter Dollar recently shared her struggles with tithing. According to her, when she was in her 20’s she was a faithful giver. Now that she and her husband presently make 4 times what she used to make she doesn’t tithe. According to her:
“We give away about 5 percent of our gross income every month, divided between a pledge to our church, a monthly gift to an organization addressing global poverty…and smaller donations to charities we support.
And I miss that money. I’m glad we give it away, but I miss it. I would like to give more, but I’m also enjoying the financial place we’re in right now. Due to a significant promotion my husband got last year, we are for the first time in our adult lives able to do things like go out to dinner for a birthday and pay for the kids’ summer camps without hyperventilating. I admit that the idea of giving away a higher percentage of our income, and as a result having to seriously curtail some expenses, makes me feel a bit resentful. And then guilty, because really Ellen? You sit here in your lovely home with a kitchen full of food and three children who have never wanted for anything, and you resent giving away money that you’d rather use on, what, new jeans or a renovated kitchen or a vacation? Pathetic.”
But Ellen is not alone.
According to an analysis of IRS tax returns researchers at the Chronicle of Philanthropy found the wealthiest Americans — those who earned $200,000 per year and over — actually reduced the share of their income they gave to charity by 4.6% in 2012, compared to the amount they gave in 2006.
Those who earned less than $100,000 — including poor and middle-class families with two working adults — donated 4.5% more of their income in 2012 than 2006, but those making $25,000 or less gave 16.6% more. But those charitable contributions steadily decreased as incomes increased.
So why are you giving less? You already guessed it: you’re making more money.