Charitable Giving Spikes: Why Americans Donated More in 2014

Charitable Giving Spikes: Why Americans Donated More in 2014

2014 was a big year for the U.S. economy, between soaring stock market prices and a booming job market.

So how did Americans celebrate their financial success?

They took the altruistic route.

Charitable contributions hit a record $456.7 last year, up 9.3% from 2013, according to Atlas of Giving, a report that monitors charitable giving on a monthly basis.

The report suggests that the trend was fueled by a number of economic factors, including the growth in stock prices, which helped colleges and universities that draw most of their funding from campaigns and major gifts.

Low inflation rates, low interest rates and plunging gas prices also left people with more discretionary income.

But experts warn this fountain of generosity could dry up in 2015. Atlas of Giving predicts a 3.2% drop in giving this year, to $442.1 billion.

Specifically, a correction in stock market prices could affect giving to donor advised funds. Moreover, an expected hike in interest rates, plus a lack of substantial wage growth, could leave Americans with less disposable cash than before for donations.

Thinking about cutting your charitable contributions this year? You might want to think twice: A growing body of research suggests financial generosity can improve your health and happiness—and can even make you a better money manager.

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