Leaving a Legacy

 There are many ways to make your mark in the world today.  Some give of their time and talents through volunteering and others give financially to the causes near and dear to their hearts  Consider a hypothetical couple that wants to preserve their legacy and give to four organizations that they would like to help succeed, we’ll call them Dick and Jane. Dick and Jane have been good savers throughout their working years. Fortunately, they accumulated enough assets to care for their own retirement needs with a high expectation of having a surplus, regardless of what financial markets deliver for their remaining years. In a recent annual review meeting, Dick and Jane determined that it was time to make financial contributions to some of area institutions that they feel are benefitting the larger society. Essentially, they wanted to help ensure these organizations are around to enrich other lives like they have their own. 

Suppose Dick and Jane could comfortably gift $50,000 each to four organizations; Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan Opera Theatre, Michigan Nature Conservancy, and the Detroit Symphony.  Each of these organizations contributed to their well-being and they may consider it is time to “give back”.  Working together, we may be able to identify securities in their portfolio that could help maximize their contributions as discussed in this prior blog .  If Dick and Jane would like their gifting to remain anonymous, they could consider establishing a Donor Advised Fund (as I discussed in a recent blog) to facilitate the donations. In the end, Dick and Jane can make tax leveraged gifts benefitting four organizations with the hopes that these groups will continue to enrich the lives of Michigan residents.  As a fellow Michigander and financial planner, it would be rewarding to see them leave their mark. 

If you are planning to leave a legacy, here are 4 Steps to get you started:

  1. Determine your financial ability to give financially – never give away a dollar that you might need for your needs
  2. Research possible organizations
  3. Determine the most tax efficient manner to give – preferably appreciated securities
  4. Enjoy knowing that you have made a significant contribution to society

Timothy Wyman, CFP®, JD is the Managing Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. and is a frequent contributor to national media including appearances on Good Morning America Weekend Edition and WDIV Channel 4 News and published articles including Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. A leader in his profession, Tim served on the National Board of Directors for the 28,000 member Financial Planning Association™ (FPA®), trained and mentored hundreds of CFP® practitioners and is a frequent speaker to organizations and businesses on various financial planning topics.

The illustration above is hypothetical.  Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc., and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.  You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.