My wife and I have worked hard to achieve Financial Independence, but we’ve also had plenty of good fortune. Perhaps the biggest stroke of luck we each had was being born in a wealthy country, and being raised in middle-class households that could afford our basic needs.
It does not sit well with us that through no fault of their own so many people are born into regions and situations where it is astronomically difficult to break out of poverty.
One of the tenets of the Effective Altruism (EA) movement is that every human on the planet is worth the same amount and deserves the same opportunity to live a good life. My wife and I really like this philosophy. We also like that EA charities focus on ways to help people escape poverty, such as medicine and nets to prevent malaria, which still kills an astounding number of people per year (627K in 2020) and costs African nations $12 billion every year, slowing their economic growth by up to 1.3 percent per year.
The first time I heard about the concept of effective altruism was from Mr. Money Mustache, who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to effective charities as recommended by organizations like GiveWell and The Life You Can Save. Thanks Pete.
Our 20% Pledge
After learning about the principles and methods of the growing EA community, it became very clear that they aligned really well with our personal philosophy of helping others who most need it. We particularly like the focus on charity effectiveness, as a large part of our life and this site is about more efficiently and effectively spending money.
So we’ve decided that 20% of all profits at Engineering Your FI will be donated to one or more of the top recommended charities at GiveWell.org.
Why not 100%?
You might be thinking at this point: “If you’re FI, why not 100%? Do you really need the money?”
That’s a very good question. And I have what I think is a pretty good answer: we want Engineering Your FI to be an Engine For Good.
The remaining 80% of profits will be funneled right back into the business, so that hopefully we can grow and reach even more people with tools and ideas to help them reach financial independence. And of course that also means we can donate even larger sums to effective charities in the future, in a fantastic virtuous cycle of growth and giving.
The first time I heard the phrase “engine for good” was from Jeremy Schneider over at Personal Finance Club, who also is retired and absolutely does not need the money anymore, yet still works hard to spread financial literacy. Thanks Jeremy.
Learn More About Effective Giving
There are lots of online resources to learn more about effective giving, but here’s a short list:
- The Life You Can Save
- Giving What We Can
- Centre For Effective Altruism (yes, they spell it Centre instead of Center, those silly British people)
- 80000 Hours
If you prefer videos, here are some top picks:
- The Why and How of Effective Altruism by Peter Singer
- Effective Altruism by Beth Barnes
- What is Effective Altruism? by Will MacAskill
If you prefer reading books, here are some top picks: