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Looking for a Financial Advisor Who Specializes in Charitable Gift Planning?

Are you interested in leaving a legacy through charitable donations and planned giving? A financial advisor who specializes in financial planning for people who are charitably inclined can help ensure the organizations and causes most important to you receive the maximum benefits of your philanthropy.

You’ll likely find dozens of financial advisors in your community well-suited to help you reach your money goals with a personalized plan. But it may be more difficult to find a financial advisor knowledgeable also experienced in helping clients optimize their charitable gift planning.

Fortunately, many financial advisors offer virtual services so you can meet online no matter where you (or they) live. This means you can choose to hire a financial advisor who lives hundreds of miles away if you decide their knowledge about money management and charitable gift planning could help you achieve both your retirement and philanthropic goals.

Smart Money Insights About Charitable Planning and Giving

This page is organized into sections to help you quickly find the information you need and get answers to your questions:

  1. Q&A with Financial Advisors Who Specialize in Charitable Gift Planning
  2. Get Answers to Your Questions About Charitable Gift Planning
  3. Browse Related Articles

– Financial Advisors Who Specializes in Charitable Gift Planning ,

Three Questions with Ian Weiner

We asked Bentonville, Arkansas financial advisor and charitable gift planning specialist Ian Weiner to answer three questions helpful to individuals and couples interested in leaving a legacy.

Q: As a financial advisor who specializes in working with people who are charitably inclined, can you briefly describe how you help these individuals and couples strike the right balance to ensure they can retire comfortably while achieving their gifting goals?

Ian: Creating a legacy you’re proud of is a critical piece of our Simply Retire Process. We encourage our clients to think about how they’d like to be remembered, and the impact they intend to create, as much as they think about travel destinations or other retirement goals. We’ve found that many people are charitably inclined yet there is a significant lack of education, strategy, and in some cases simple encouragement to make those goals reality.

The overwhelming majority of our clients tell us that even though they’ve worked with other advisors – sometimes even several over the years – they can’t recall any charitable conversations with their previous advisors.

A huge piece of what we do is try to fill the knowledge gap that exists to help people realize they can give thoughtfully and enjoy retirement.

Sometimes we’ll work with folks who have heard of Qualified Charitable Distributions or Donor Advised Funds, and maybe even have one, but they’re a standalone item, almost an afterthought.

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When someone has charitable or legacy goals we bring them to the forefront because the sooner we begin that planning, the more effective we can be. Many people are surprised to realize how powerful their charitable desires are when utilized in the planning process.

There are a number of tax planning tools that can be incredibly useful, especially in the early years of retirement.

Q: What are some of the ideas you often recommend that people consider who are interested in both retiring early and supporting their favorite causes?

Ian: Many of the folks we work with think we have to choose either accomplishing their gifting goals, or retiring confidently, yet it’s rarely the case.

Typically folks who are charitably inclined and are getting ready to retire have 50-70% of their assets in traditional qualified accounts: IRA/401K/403b, with the other 30-50% in non-qualified assets.

Most advisors recommend clients to let the qualified assets grow tax-deferred, use the non-qualified assets in the early years of retirement and handle RMDs by making Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs), avoiding taxation on those dollars. While everyone’s scenario is different this strategy turns out to be limited in a lot of cases.

A simple example: QCDs are limited to $100,000 per person/per year. If someone with 1.5M in IRA’s waits until 72 to touch that money and it earns 6% – their RMD requirement at age 72 would be $$98,039, at age 80 – $153,858! You can see how this plan falls apart fairly quickly.

Consider an alternative: make strategic donations to a Donor Advised Fund or Charitable Remainder Trust – utilize the tax deduction to convert most if not all of the traditional qualified assets to Roth, and enjoy tax-free growth and tax-free distributions.

Charitable Remainder Trusts are becoming more interesting for many investors because of the flexibility of distributions that can be built into the trust. Consider a scenario in which you’d like to make a gift to a charity, but also want to have increased income in the early years of your retirement, but you don’t expect to need that income for more than 5 or 10 years, possibly while you’re delaying Social Security.

A donation to a Charitable Remainder Trust, if structured correctly by the estate planning attorney, could allow for income of a specific amount and for a specified amount of time. Once the desired income period is over, the ‘remainder’ will go to the charity of choice. You’ll enjoy an “upfront” charitable deduction at the time of the original donation to the trust.

A simple strategy that many people can utilize to itemize deductions is called gift bunching. Instead of making donations to church or charity monthly, ‘bunch’ together gifts for 2 years in January, of the year you expect to be able to itemize.

If you’ve got cash on hand, consider lumping 5 -10 years’ worth of giving into a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). You’ll enjoy the deduction upfront, and be able to invest the money to continue to make gifts.

DAFs allow for charity beneficiaries to be changed down the road, so flexibility is maintained. Timing these gifts during high-earning years or to offset Roth conversions is a massively underutilized strategy.

There are a number of strategies utilizing Private Foundations that can be very attractive given the right circumstances as well. Many people don’t know that a Private Foundation can be the charity remainderman of a Charitable Remainder Trust, as well as a Donor Advised Fund. The possibilities are nearly endless!

These are just a few examples of ways that charitable planning can enhance, not detract from a well-thought-out financial plan.

The caveat necessary is that charitable planning is not for those who aren’t charitably inclined. There are plenty of planning opportunities in other areas to reduce taxes. The spirit of charitable giving is that the federal government understands that they can’t meet every need – and the philanthropic sector is the best stopgap available.

Q: For people who have aspirations to incorporate charitable giving as part of their financial and estate plans, are there resources you recommend they consider to help put them on the right path?

Ian: We have a YouTube series called The Values-Based Retirement that explores these ideas further, a podcast of the same name is in production as well.

We like some of the resources from https://foundationsource.com/ for those considering a private foundation, they discuss the pros / cons of various strategies in a clear and concise manner.

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About the Author
Brian Thorp, Founder and CEO of Wealthtender profile picture

Brian Thorp

Founder and CEO, Wealthtender

Brian and his wife live in Texas, enjoying the diversity of Houston and the vibrancy of Austin.

With over 25 years in the financial services industry, Brian is applying his experience and passion at Wealthtender to help more people enjoy life with less money stress.

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