Charitable contributions are down in a tough economy—but that may not mean people are feeling less philanthropic. Feeling too guilty to let the masseuse go under or a favorite shop die, many who can afford it are spending in an effort to help those around them, the Wall Street Journal reports. “It’s the guilt economy,” says one such consumer.
Those closest to us are most likely to benefit from such spending, an expert says. One woman, for instance, was happy to cut her pool cleaning, performed by several faceless people. But she couldn’t let her longtime gardener go. Financial advisers may encourage clients to avoid such decisions, but a philosophy professor says, “we’d worry about someone who didn’t have those feelings.”