By Megan Poore and her clients, Matt & Stevi
At Lucien, Stirling & Gray, we’ve always believed that personal wealth is comprised of so much more than just your money and investments. We’ve talked about it time and time again (click to read more about our philosophy around defining wealth, personal wealth, and social wealth). As advisors, we enjoy helping our clients find a sense of fulfillment by showing them how to utilize their financial resources in meaningful ways. For some of our philanthropically-minded clients, charitable giving is an important part of the picture.
We’d like to share this story from Matt and Stevi, existing clients who have worked with Megan since the sale of the company where Matt was an employee and shareholder. Often with a windfall, the tax implications are top of mind. One way to mitigate some of the taxes and fulfill long-term philanthropic objectives is to use a donor-advised fund. With a donor-advised fund, individuals and couples can benefit from an immediate tax deduction for their contribution but can then distribute the funds over the course of several years.
Stevi and I, through a combination of hard work, planning and fortunate timing, have become “new money.” Giving has always been a part of lives, but never to the scale it has become today. We knew immediately that we wanted to use our good fortune to positively impact others around us and to contribute to causes we care about, we just never knew how.
When we discovered the Charitable Fund option – a dedicated account for giving – it just made sense for us. There’s the obvious tax benefit that made it appealing, but the characteristics of the account fit our saving/spending style and made it easy for us to choose that route for charitable giving.
Here are some of the reasons this account worked for us:
1) Dedicated funds – When it comes to tracking our finances, Stevi and I like to have our accounts separated and earmarked for specific purposes. We have multiple accounts dedicated to vacation, retirement, savings, investing, etc. – so it made sense that if giving is important to us, that we needed to have a separate account for that. There’s no question, to either of us, what those funds are for and there’s no opportunity to lose track of how much is left when it’s not co-mingled with other accounts/cash.
2) Being Prepared to Give – I’m convinced that without having the charitable giving account, we would have missed out on or experienced significant sacrifice trying to support our charitable organizations. Having a heart for giving is one thing, but having resources to give is another. By creating the charitable account, we were always prepared for the next opportunity or next good cause that spoke to us.
3) No “Check with Me” – In our marriage, it’s safe to say that Stevi and I are a saver/spender couple. This isn’t saying that the spender is financially illiterate or irresponsible, but rather, they’re not always up on our current financial state or short-term goals for our family (another reason the dedicated funds work for us). With the charitable fund, if either of us finds a cause we want to support, we don’t need to check with the other one to see if it’s okay to spend that money. We simply check the app, make sure we’re aware of the account balance, and if the amount is small (usually less than $5K), we give without having to crunch numbers or have a team-meeting to discuss the impact.
Here are a few ways we’ve utilized our fund to give back:
- We’ve been able to help a childhood friend and family accomplish goals of spreading the Gospel by giving to their mission trips and church they were planting.
- Stevi, a former ICU nurse and lactation consultant, has been able to support causes important to her, like Hope Mommies Inc and Nurture Project International.
- We are in the process of creating an endowment at the school our kids attend. It’s a fantastic school, but not one everybody can attend due to the tuition. Our endowment is geared toward allowing families that can’t otherwise afford the tuition to attend/experience the school.
- We’ve donated in memoriam to folks (and animals that were like family) that we otherwise couldn’t have memorialized.
- Our church has had guest speakers from war ravaged countries overseas. We’ve been able to partner with some of those leaders and their charities to make an impact overseas.
As stated above, most of these opportunities would’ve never occurred if we didn’t make an intentional effort to set aside giving money.
A special thanks to Matt and Stevi for agreeing to share their story! If you think your overall financial plan needs a Charitable Fund option, feel free to reach out to us.