We are really not hurting financially. I would like to significantly increase our currently extremely low charitable contributions. Problem: My significant other (SO) is rather... stingy (SO has observed a lot of irresponsible spending from a parent, which has scarred SO for life).
Question: How can I best start a discussion about this topic with my significant other (SO) in regards to making charitable contributions?
A good outcome from my point of view would be to set aside x% of total income and let everyone donate half of this as (s)he wishes, with no judgment on the other's choices, and with a clear agreement of what to do with anything left over at the end of the year.
Here are a couple of details:
- SO is not very financially savvy and has very little idea about how much we earn and how high up we are in terms of being in the top y% of households by income. I manage our finances. (No, simply donating behind SO's back is not an option.)
- As I wrote, we are pretty well off, so that even a modest percentage is quite a bit in absolute terms. SO tends to think more in absolute terms than in percentages.
- SO has mentioned a few causes SO would like to donate to. We haven't discussed amounts yet - see the bullet point below. I personally find other causes more deserving.
- If I open this discussion up the wrong way, I risk that SO clams up on the subject. I really have only one chance to start this well. (Of course, I would be fine with broaching the subject and letting everyone think about it before we reach a decision. I'm just afraid of SO believing I want to squander our money and never be responsive to this topic ever again. Yes, SO is that way. I love SO for other reasons.)
- Open up with "how much do you think we earn?" If SO believes we are earning half as much as we really do, argue that if we would be fine with Z amount but really make 2Z, there is a lot of buffer we could donate to others without pain. Problem: SO may overestimate our income by a lot, and I'd really rather not start the discussion by explaining to SO we really make far less than SO believes.
- Take a similar approach, but start with "which income percentile do you believe we are in?" Could be better, but requires that I research this first. I'll do that while waiting for good ideas here.
I understand this may be a somewhat non-standard question here, but it seems similar to questions about teaching kids to invest and answers that mention teaching kids to share and donate.