'Tis the season for giving - and for good reason. Making a charitable donation during the holidays not only helps support important causes, but also provides year-end tax benefits.
(Perhaps that's why Network for Good reports that more than 30% of annual giving through its donation processing system happens during December![i])
However, while charitable giving is popular during this time of year, charitable gift planning often gets overlooked. When your charitable giving consists of responding to direct mail requests or spur-of-the-moment donations at the store checkout line, you most likely are not earning the ultimate tax benefits.
The good news is that there are ways both you and your charity of choice can benefit from your generosity - and all it takes is a little planning.
One way to improve the effectiveness of your charitable giving is through a donor-advised fund. Here at BWC, we use Fidelity Charitable to help our clients get the most advantageous tax benefits while supporting their favorite charities.
Fidelity Charitable's Giving Account allows donors to make a tax-deductible charitable donation, choose how your contributions are invested and give grants to the charities you support.
By consolidating your charitable giving through a donor-advised fund, you not only simplify the giving process, but also have the opportunity to invest your dollars and make more money for your chosen charity. You can also give many types of assets, from cash to real estate and more.
Another benefit: You can contribute to your fund now, receive a deduction for this year and then take the time you need to thoughtfully donate those funds. This eliminates the end-of-year rush to select an appropriate charity and gives you more time to grow your donation funds.
Looking for a way to involve your children in charitable giving?
Fidelity Charitable also offers eCertificates for children. Consider giving one as a gift and helping your child donate those dollars to a charity of his or her choice. It's a way to instill both philanthropic and investment-minded practices from a young age.
Finally, remember that donating shares of appreciated stock is a great option if you are considering making a charitable contribution before the end of the year. You avoid paying capital gains and your chosen charity gets the shares to sell for cash.
Regardless of how you plan to donate, it's always a good idea to create a giving strategy with the help of your financial advisor. Contact us if you would like to learn more about your options, and give some good this holiday season.
About the Author: Jim Betzig is Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Beirne Wealth Consulting, specializing in working with both institutional and individual clients, assisting in financial planning, asset allocation, tax-free investing, manager searches and selection, and liability management.
About Beirne Wealth Consulting Services, LLC
Beirne Wealth Consulting Services, LLC (“BWC”) is a growing, privately owned, SEC Registered Investment Advisor with about $2 billion in assets under management and over 25 employees in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Florida. BWC provides independent, fee-based investment management services and customized financial planning solutions. Our institutional business provides consulting expertise to defined benefit and defined contribution plans, endowments, foundations and non-profit organizations. Our private clients include high net-worth individuals and prominent families, many of whom bring complex wealth management challenges and multigenerational planning needs. For more information, please visit www.beirnewealth.com or give us a call today at 888-231-6372.