The Value of Family Holiday Traditions

Contributed by: Timothy Wyman, CFP®, JD Tim Wyman

I must admit, as time passes (read: as I get older), I have come to appreciate and desire Family Traditions. Perhaps your family always spends time together up north over Thanksgiving, or your extended family always attends church together on Christmas Eve, or perhaps you make it a point to always have dinner with family on New Year’s Eve. Regardless of the specifics, each of these traditions provides lifelong memories and helps create solid bonds between everyone you share those traditions with.

One Family Holiday Tradition that I am trying to continue is an annual giving day. Several years ago my wife Jen and I established a Donor Advised Fund. I have written about the income tax benefits in the past – but that’s not the whole story. Over the years Jen and I decided which charities to benefit with our funds; which has been very gratifying. Last year, however, we decided to include our three kids, ages 21, 20 and 13, in some of the decisions.  We shared that as families we wanted to donate $1,000 from our donor advised fund and needed their help in determining where it should go. Ultimately we chose two groups: Wounded Warriors and Covenant House of MI. Don’t tell my kids, but I really didn’t care which organizations they decided to support. My interest was in the conversation the act of giving sparked and the hopeful transfer of VALUES and not just VALUE. This family tradition allowed Jen and me to talk about how important we feel it is to be engaged in our community and give the gift of time and sometimes money. It also gave us a time to reflect on how fortunate we are in so many ways individually and as a family. And lastly, dang it felt good! J

Like most things worthwhile in life, carrying on a Family Tradition (at least a positive one) takes commitment, time, and some energy.  What are some of your favorite Family Traditions?

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

Raymond James is not affiliated with Wounded Warriors or Covenant House of MI. You should discuss any tax matters with the appropriate professional.