In the News

April 11, 2022

How charitable giving can affect the building blocks of financial health

Originally published in the Jewish News by Mala Blomquist.

Finances have been on everyone’s mind lately. From gas prices to child care to purchasing or renting a home, inflation poses challenges for individuals of a diverse range of economic backgrounds.

The annual inflation rate for the United States is 7.9% for the 12 months ending February 2022 — the highest since January 1982 — and after rising 7.5% previously, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data published March 10. The next inflation update is scheduled for release on April 12 and it will offer the rate of inflation over the 12 months ending March 2022.

Whether finances have been on the top of your mind or not, there is no better time than the month of April (which happens to be Financial Literacy Month) to reflect on your financial health, including your charitable giving habits.

Financial Literacy Month’s beginnings go back more than two decades. The campaign began as Youth Financial Literacy Day, first introduced by the National Endowment for Financial Education. The event’s name was eventually changed to Financial Literacy Month and in 2004, the Senate passed a resolution to officially recognize April as Financial Literacy Month.

In 2003, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Literacy and Education Commission developed a national financial education website (mymoney.gov) with resources and information, including “My Money Five,” the five building blocks for managing and growing your money.

These five building blocks are: earn, save and invest, protect, spend and borrow. Jewish Free Loan (JFL) is a charitable organization that can assist in several of these areas, according to Ellen Friedman Sacks, executive director of Jewish Free Loan in Phoenix.

Starting with the principle of “borrow” — if you are in the market for a loan, JFL can help. “We offer a secure online application process, confidential interview and individualized re-payment schedules,” said Friedman Sacks. “Most importantly, we are a nonprofit and all our loans are completely interest-free.”

When you utilize an interest-free loan, compared to taking a traditional, interest-bearing loan from a financial institution, you may “save” as much as 36%. (Personal loan interest rates can range from 6% to 36% depending on the lender and the borrower’s credit score and financial history, as reported by Experian.) When you don’t have to pay interest, you are able to better “invest” that savings to help you reach your long-term goals and immediate needs, said Friedman Sacks.

“If you find yourself in a financially secure place and in a position to ‘spend,’ JFL can help with that too,” said Friedman Sacks. JFL is a registered nonprofit and a Qualified Charitable Organization of the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit (AZ CTC). This means that you can get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit when you donate to JFL or any AZ CTC-eligible organization (a complete list of these organizations can be found at azdor.gov/tax-credits). The AZ CTC limit is $400 for an individual return and $800 for couples filing jointly. Please consult your tax advisor for more information.

Thinking in terms of financial literacy, the AZ CTC not only puts you in a position to better “protect” what you already have, but it allows you to help “protect” your fellow community members by supporting important resources.

“Invest” in your financial health by investing in the community and you will be well on your way to achieving the five building blocks of financial literacy this April. JN

Jewish Free Loan provides interest-free loans to Arizona’s Jewish community. For more information, contact 602-230-7983 or email [email protected]