Charitable giving a priority among upper-income investors: Wells Fargo

Charitable giving a priority among upper-income investors: Wells Fargo

While there’s been a greater amount of interest in ESG and responsible investing, upper-income investors still prefer to make an impact through charitable giving.

That’s according to a new Wells Fargo/Gallup study of over American investors with at least US$10,000 in stock or bond investments and reported annual earnings of at least US$240,000.

It found that while 42% considered investing in alignment with their values to be highly important, 60% said they considered contributing or spending a portion of their income to help others a very or extremely important financial value.

Donations are a widespread activity among upper-income investors, with 93% saying they had made donations to a non-faith-based organization in the past year, and 59% saying they had donated to a faith-based one. All in all, 97% had made one kind of donation or the other.

Fewer respondents said they had volunteered time to a charitable cause in the past year, with 64% working at a non-faith-based organization, 37% at a faith-based one, and 25% at neither.

When asked about how active their parents were in volunteering in their youth, around one in five participants said their parents had been extremely or very active. Just over a third (36%) said they had been somewhat active, while 40% said their parents were not active.

Focusing on those whose parents were at least somewhat active, 40% said their parents pushed them to get involved in a fair amount or a lot of volunteer work at the time.

Respondents whose parents were highly active volunteers were found to be more likely to rate donating to charity as an extremely important financial value. In addition, they were more likely to emphasise the importance of having children who donate to charity and do volunteer work in their communities.

Upper-income investors with extremely or very active volunteer parents reported giving an average of US$8,203 to charity in the past year. That’s compared to US$5,482 for those whose parents were only somewhat active, and $4,179 for those whose parents were not active.

When asked about their personal motivations for donating or doing volunteer work, 78% of upper-income investors said they strongly believed in the causes they support, 71% cited a desire to make a difference, and 62% simply enjoyed being able to help.

Other reasons behind acts of philanthropy or charity were:

  • Having a personal connection to issues or organizations they are involved with (56%);
  • A way to give back for help that others had given them in the past (37%);
  • A sense of moral obligation based on their financial position (38%);
  • Setting an example for their children (34%);
  • Religious commitment or obligation (21%)

Nearly half of respondents who gave acknowledged that taxes were at least a minor reason, while only 7% said it was a major one.

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