Retiring Soon? 4 Charitable Giving Questions to Ponder
Many people in retirement desire to give more of their time and financial resources to support charitable causes. This shift could be driven by factors including an increased capacity to volunteer, creating new social connections with like-minded individuals, a desire to make a positive impact on others, or having sufficient financial capacity beyond their lifestyle needs.
Studies have shown that retirees are some of the most generous givers. A 2015 report by AgeWave/Merrill Lynch referred to the significant giving potential of retirees over the next two decades as “America’s Longevity Bonus” – an estimated $8 trillion based on the value of their donations and time through the year 2035. Furthermore, the study also revealed some introspective results on motivation: seven in ten retirees said that giving was a major source of their happiness.
If charitable giving will be an important part of your retirement, here are four questions to ask yourself as you approach your giving in this next phase of life.
How can my schedule include opportunities to give my time?
In retirement, you will have two resources to spend: time and money. How you spend your resources reflects your values. If charitable giving is an important part of your life in retirement, there is a good chance it could impact your time. Consider not only the amount of time but how you will use your time to contribute and feel a sense of fulfillment in your efforts. Is there a regular interval that you desire to volunteer your time to a cause? How will other activities such as travel and time with family fit into your ideal weekly schedule?
How can my skills and experiences support the causes I care about?
Many retirees have accumulated a lifetime of skills and experiences. Once they retire, it may seem as if there is no avenue to apply those skills and experiences. Many charitable organizations are looking for ways to increase their effectiveness to support their mission but may be inhibited by budgetary, personnel, or talent constraints. You could be in a unique situation with your professional background to help the organization better address a particular need. Even simply giving your unique feedback without a huge time commitment could be beneficial to the cause.
What do I want my charitable giving to look over the next 5 years?
The Women’s Institute at the Lily School of Philanthropy’s 2018 report “How Women and Men Give Around Retirement” revealed that during the five years leading up to and after retirement, the likelihood and amount of giving hold fairly steady while spending in other areas declines. The survey found that the likelihood of giving increases by 5 percent from ages 60-70, while spending decreases by 22.7 percent. In practice, this could mean fewer work lunches and other spending needs that were part of your life during your career, while having a desire to increase your giving commitments.
Your charitable giving will likely go through phases based on several factors. You might want to start by mapping out the first five years of retirement and then later adjust as you monitor your evolving financial resources, legacy plans, and areas of charitable interest.
How can I engage my family in my charitable giving and legacy planning?
Once you retire, you might think more often about your legacy. Some foundational questions could include “How do I want to be remembered?” and “What are the values that I hope my family will cherish after I am gone?” If charitable giving is important to you, you may find sharing your charitable giving motives with your family to be a rewarding process. You could invite them to join you in supporting the causes you care about, such as volunteering together or making financial donations as a family.
However you plan to give in retirement, know that the impact you make can be just as richly rewarding for you as for the people you touch.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chase Mouchet, CFP, CIMA
Chase joined the Brightworth team in 2015 as a financial planner, having previously worked at two independent financial planning firms. He is passionate about helping clients, particularly those who are nearing or in retirement, simplify their financial lives and maximize the impact of their wealth, in areas such as charitable giving.
He has been featured in Money Magazine’s “Money Makeover” and has been published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dallas Morning News, and Kiplinger. He is a member of the Georgia Planned Giving Council and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Legacy Advisors. Chase received his BBA in Finance and BSFCS in Financial Planning from the University of Georgia and serves on the alumni board of the UGA Financial Planning program.
Chase and his wife, Kate, live in Atlanta with their two children and are active members of their church. He enjoys spending time with his family, activities on the lake, and cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs.
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