Rebecca Herbst

Founder @ Yield & Spread
180 karmaJoined Apr 2021Working (15+ years)Ogden, UT, USA



Passionate about effective giving and financial literacy. Early retiree (a la the FIRE movement). Member of Giving What We Can. Board Member for Effective Altruism Salt Lake City.  Ex-commercial real estate cities researcher and economist. Outdoor enthusiast. Creator of  Yield & Spread. We teach working adults how to manage and invest their money. All profits after operating costs go tot effective charities. Learn more at


Excited to see this as an offering!

Wanted to share with readers of this post that Yield & Spread has added a free 1:1 coaching program for do-gooders who want to explore and improve their personal finances. We are calling for applicants in this post. If you found the FI-lanthropy calculator helpful, please consider applying. 

There's been some good activity in the Personal Finance space since this post from @NicoleJaneway ! Wanted to share with readers of this post that we have created a free 1:1 coaching program for do-gooders who want to explore and improve personal finances. We are calling for applicants in this post.

Thanks. I've gotten this feedback more than once so will address it!

I found this incredibly helpful. Along these lines, I've been searching for existing Earn to Give coaches. I know you can join the GWWC and One For the World communities and attend their events. The Life You Can Save also has a feature where you can reach out to an advisor.  But i'm more so curious to know if this is a formal coaching program for making a pledge, similar to what 80,000 hours has with their career coaching program.

I believe there is a world in which you can pursue both FIRE and regular donations starting today.  Assuming you are financially secure and actively working towards FI, I believe that one can take a pledge today, and still donate their estate upon their old age or death. And that these two acts of giving are not mutually exclusive. Per @Davidmanheim comment "it's hard to stay involved in EA without actually doing the things EA suggests".  I agree that building this uphill habit up today is important so that it grounds you to give your nest egg tomorrow. I'm deeply interested in this space, and recently created this "Fi-lanthropy Calculator" per this EA Post. It allows people to explore their options of giving today vs. tomorrow in line with their timeline to FI. 

Else, on the whole, I agree and think all EAs (and most people) should make FI a priority in order to assure their security and comfort in old age. (I genuinely don't like the term RE as much because it involves negative connotations). 

There's been some updated studies completed since the Trinity Study proving that you may actually be able to withdraw even more than 4% safely. And that it really depends mostly on when you retire, what your portfolio valuation is upon retirement, and what happens to that valuation in those first few years not earning active income. Michael Kitces talks about it here and here. So i still feel confident to leave the base number at 4% and if people want to change it they can.  


Thanks for this. I agree that a tool like this would be extremely helpful, but frankly, extremely challenging to build. There are so many scenarios that would influence deductibility in any given year, let alone over time. And the calculator begins with entering an assumed income after taxes. Even if I were to include a line item that says % of donations that are tax-deductible, having the user accurately calculate or predict that on their own would be extremely challenging. It would also impact their income and expenses. With that said, I am also interested in these types of insights as I think they would be incredibly powerful -- but just much harder to "productize" into one tool. 

Updated! And yes, I left a comment on the Personal Finance for EA thread. Thank you for highlighting that other one too. 

Extremely helpful commentary. I've updated the charts with your recommended formula per comment No. 4, and given some extra commentary around No. 2 and 3.  I'll have to give some more thought to your comments about "donating now vs. donating later" and incorporating this level of flexibility.  There's probably a few ways of doing this  -- and perhaps this is best done in a separate section or separate calculator even. It also encourages me think a bit more about audience for this tool -- if you are new to giving then my gut tells me something more simple will help someone get onto this path more easily...whereas a tool that is more flexible with more options for donation strategy may be better for someone well versed in this space.  I think there is space for both. So again, will think on this one more. Would be very happy to chat with another early retiree directly if you are interested, @Alejandro Ruiz 

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