I understand that donating 10% is difficult if you’re not used to it. However, as someone who grew up around plenty of working- and middle-class families that donated 10% or more, I strongly disagree with the claim that it’s not possible.
However, I agree that if you have high-interest debts you should pay them first, and that some people starting their careers in expensive cities will struggle. I struggled when I was making £20k in London. But then, I budgeted for giving, lived in a smaller place* than I would have, saved like 5% and gave like 8%? It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t impossible to give. And now that I make more, I give more and save more. I’m not sure an alternative goal would have been helpful—I guess I just would have lived less frugally.
*Edit: Room. I lived in a tiny room in Zone 4.
Edit 2: Actually, now that I think about it, I saved more than 10%, but that was because I was a temporary worker who didn’t get paid on holidays—so on balance I only really saved enough to buy a ticket back home.
I do want to note that I very specifically didn’t say giving 10% was impossible – I said it was impractical as a default option for all new EAs. This is both because for some people it can hard, but more importantly because for many people I think it’s inadvisable. I think it’s much more important for new EAs to adopt plans with option value, that start building them runway.