Dec 9, 2009

The Right Way to Give, part I

Every time Oprah gives away cars to members of her audience, I wince. First, the cars are donated, so it costs her nothing. She gets to be the Fairy Godmother, giving away stuff. Ford gets the publicity. What do the recipients get?

Suppose you live in Chicago. Downtown Chicago. And you happened to get Oprah tickets. And you are given a free car. Whee! Praise Oprah!

What then?

Now comes the hangover. Do you have a driver's license? Get one of those. Register the car with the DMV to get a title. Get tags on the car. Couple hundred dollars. Call your insurance agent to insure the car. Couple hundred dollars a month for a new car in a bad zip code. Park the car... where? In a rented space? Couple hundred dollars a month.

Now this "free" car is costing you three or four hundred dollars a month, maybe more, plus annual tags. What kind of gift is that?

Oh wait, don't forget the IRS. How many of the "winners" have to sell the car to pay the $7000 tax on the "gift" in the first place.

Gifts that require financial obligation and maintenance are no gifts at all.

What "free" gifts are you rethinking today?

No comments:

Post a Comment