Saturday, June 30, 2012

Retirement Issues — Save the (Insert Animal Name Here)

Now that I’m retired, I’m getting more mailings from companies suggesting ways to invest my funds, and from organizations that want to save every animal that was in Noah’s ark. I find this ironic, since I have less discretionary income in retirement, not more. I doubt that I’m unusual, but just in case you have a stash you need to get rid of, read on.

Thanks to my attorney, I’ve learned that the GST (generation skipping transfer) tax exemption amount will decrease at the end of this year from the $5 million Congress approved in 2010. (To what, I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s a lot less.) We need to make those multi-million-dollar gifts to our grandchildren before December. Unfortunately, I don’t have any grandchildren on whom to bestow my millions. I’ll have to settle for making gifts to charities that will put my hard earned money to good use.

This is no problem, because a high percentage of my mail comes from animal charities. People who know me well are aware that I have a soft spot for just about anything that travels on four legs and is covered in fur (or lots of hair). I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that word has gotten around that I’m an easy touch. But I think many 501c3’s exist solely for the purpose of sending me heart-wrenching stories of animals that have been tortured, abandoned or otherwise mistreated.

I continue to be amazed at the names of some of these organizations and what my donations could accomplish through them. I’ve put together a test to see how much you know about all of this. Answers are at the end of the post. If you get 3 or more correct, you’ve probably written a few checks to one of these groups yourself.

1. Which of the following is/are not legitimate 501c3 charities?
a. Heifer International
b. Best Friends Animal Society
c. Peaceable Kingdom Elephant Preserve
d. Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue
e. Flights of Fancy Parrot Sanctuary

2. Which “gift will do” statement(s) is/are correct?
a. $20 will keep an ASPCA disaster response trailer stocked with animal rescue equipment.
b. $100 will make you a foster parent for an orangutan (schooling not included).
c. $250 will provide an individual kennel for a cat awaiting adoption.
d. $850 will purchase a camel (that’s $425 per hump…).
e. $5,000 will buy an entire ark (15 pairs of animals).

3. You can “adopt” which of the following animals?
a. A duck name Quackers
b. A pig named Penelope
c. A donkey named Floyd
d. A pink elephant named Floyd
e. An elephant named Pink Floyd

4. Which of the following is not on the National Wildlife Federation adoption list of protected species?
a. Barking Tree Frog
b. Horned Lizard
c. Horny Lounge Lizard
d. Humpback Whale
e. Humping Lounge Lizard
f. Vitriolic political extremist

5. If a female rabbit can have as many as 12 baby bunnies in each litter, and she can reproduce every 30 days during mating season (February thru October), what is the maximum number of bunnies a warren of four female rabbits can have in one year?
a. 108
b. 360
c. 432
d. Other ________

6. Rabbit courtship and mating are very brief, lasting only 30 to 40 seconds. (Hence the expression: “Quick like a bunny.”) Which member of the animal kingdom can mate in even less than 30 seconds?

1. c and e are bogus charities.
2. All are correct.
3. You can adopt a, b or c.
4. c, e and f are not protected; they’re prolific.
5. Trick question: zero; there was no male rabbit…
6. Oh, come on. We all know the answer to that.

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