Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor or investment professional. Consult a professional before making any large financial decisions. None of this is formal investment advice, and is provided purely for informational purposes. This post was all done in my personal time, has no relation to my work at Open Philanthropy, and does not represent the views of anyone but myself.
Are you convinced that you should be saving some of your money to donate later? Not sure where to start saving, what to invest in, or how to take advantage of tax benefits? This blog post is for you. I draw heavily on analysis from Gordon Irlam's excellent work on EA investing, summarize it plainly, and give a few pieces of my own thoughts on the matter.
TLDR, my summary of advice for US donors:
- Open a brokerage account with M1 Finance (that link is my referral link; if you join, we each get $50, which I will put in my saving-to-give account). Sign up for the free year of M1 Plus (which gives you access to the low margin rates).
- Set up a pie with the following allocation (or simply copy my pie with this link):
- 70% AVUV (small-cap value)
- 15% VTI (Total US stock market)
- 15% VXUS (Total ex-US stock market)
- (Optional, more risky, requires more effort) Use M1's Borrow feature to take out the maximum loan possible on your holdings. Transfer this to your save-to-give account. Repeat this process until you have reached the maximum margin limit, around a 67% debt-to-equity level.
- Set up a monthly recurring transfer from your bank account to your new M1 save-to-give account.
- At any point in the future, you can then transfer stocks from this account to a charity of your choice, or sell stocks for cash to give to an organization that is not a charity. Ideally, you should save until you can donate more than the standard deduction, and then donate in one big chunk.
Note that this is a risky allocation, especially with margin. There is a solid possibility that my portfolio drops by 70+% at one point or another. You should make sure you understand the risks of using margin before following this strategy: you could end up losing everything, or even owing money to your lender.
For full details and reasoning, please visit the blog post on my website. I go through different ways to access margin, asset allocation, taxes, and different types of accounts. I look forward to discussing in the comments.