The Joy of Giving: Charitable Considerations

By Jon Theriault, CFP®, CKA®, MBA

With the holiday season upon us, and the end of 2016 near, I felt inspired to share a few thoughts on Giving following some important conversations that recently took place with our three young children.

On the financial planning front, there are numerous charitable and family gifting strategies we help our clients implement to help them benefit from a tax or estate planning standpoint, and please let this serve as a reminder that it is not too late to reap the tax benefits available through charitable contributions made before the end of the year. But the most important message I want to share has to do with what Giving can do for your heart.

Giving is one of the five basic uses of money, but can be a last resort for many, which is unfortunate given the many economic and non-economic benefits it has to offer. In its purest form, Giving actually breaks the power of money, which can be transformational to those with financial anxiety or to those who are conditioned to uphold financial status as their highest priority. Giving can often help break down such anxiety or idolatry in a way that actually creates financial freedom, rather than diminish it. But it all starts with attitude.

There are two extremes when it comes to attitudes about Giving. At one end, the act of separating from money can be accompanied by fear and resentment. This clearly does not result in joyful Giving. But on the other end, and ideally, the very same act can be done through a sense of purpose and contentment, which brings with it the intrinsic reward of joy. With that said, here are five suggestions that will help make Giving a truly joyful experience:

  • Give generously and with a spirit of gratitude and contentment for being in position to do so
  • Give intentionally with clear purpose and in support of a cause or person you strongly believe in
  • Give responsibly such that it does not impair provision for your own needs and family
  • Give unconditionally, or even anonymously, with no strings attached or reciprocal expectations
  • Give consistently such that the power of money does not rob you of your financial freedom

For several years now, one of our family’s Christmas traditions has been to adopt a family in need through the Boys & Girls Club of America. As we discuss the family with our kids, thoughtfully make out the shopping lists, and ultimately buy, wrap and deliver the gifts, each of the above concepts are reinforced every year to make for a memorable and rewarding holiday experience for everyone involved. This has helped foster generous hearts among our children well before they have any cares or concerns about the financial implications. There is joy in this.

We welcome you to contact our office to discuss how a strategic Giving Plan can best be designed to help you and others.

Happy Holidays!