The benefits and gifts of giving
“Giving” as a concept means giving something of yourself to others. This can be both financial and non-financial. Whether measured in dollars or minutes, giving this gift to others can benefit you over time!
Helping clients maintain, grow and pass on assets to their heirs and charities is a big part of my business. With tax laws constantly changing, it is important to work with both a financial advisor and attorney to implement the most effective strategies for wealth preservation and succession planning.
To those inclined toward charitable giving, there are strategies that may be available which allow you to give to your favorite charity. These methods may also offer greater tax efficiency!
Passing on tax deferred assets vs. other assets
Attorney Robert Naberhaus of the Dean Mead Law Firm is an expert in the area of wills, trusts and estates. He points out that leaving tax deferred assets (e.g., IRA, 401k, etc.) to charity is more tax efficient because the charity receives the asset income tax free — while a non-charitable beneficiary receiving the same asset must include it as income. Thus, it is good planning to fund charitable bequests with tax deferred assets, while funding non-charitable beneficiaries with other assets.
How about the gift of time?
Just like gifts with a monetary value, gifts of less-tangible things can offer dual benefits as well. What I’m talking about here is how we can leverage the gift of time. There is always an endless need for volunteers for every cause you can imagine. The good news is that along with this list of needs is a list of opportunities to help others. In the process of helping others we can help ourselves.
Volunteering your time can benefit your health and retirement
In 2013 Rodlescia Sneed of the Michigan State University published a study called “A Prospective Study of Volunteerism and Hypertension Risk in Older Adults”. The study indicated that people who volunteered 200 hours annually had a reduced risk of hypertension and an improved psychological well-being. Other studies have indicated volunteerism may reduce depression and stress.
Taking your children and grandchildren along with you when you volunteer is a great way of passing along the gift of sharing and compassion. Time spent helping those in need while interacting face to face with others who share solid core values is an asset that will pay countless dividends.
Volunteering your time can benefit society and our children
Keith Gee is the executive director of the Children’s Hunger Project in Brevard County Florida. This program provides elementary school children in need with food to take home on week-ends. Some of these children would not otherwise have a regular meal, at least until they return to school on Monday.
Proper nutrition in these students improves health, attendance, learning and overall behavior. Keith points out that putting more than 1600 food packages together each week is made possible by the work of volunteers. He says this is a great chance to have a conversation with kids and grandkids about those less fortunate. When a child is volunteering to pack food, he/she knows that the food packed will feed another child in need that same week.
It’s easy to see how giving the gift of time, as well as money, can help those in need as well as our local communities. This benefits everyone in the long run in many ways both measurable and immeasurable.
Plan for compassion as well as your portfolio
Maintaining assets, growing them, and passing them along to our heirs – whether it’s stocks, bonds, or real estate – requires great planning.
However, just as we plan for those financial assets we must also plan to pass along charity, compassion and grace to all people in need.
All of these have one important thing in common: even the best laid plans by financial advisors and attorneys will not allow us to pass along something we don’t have.