A little planning goes a long way when it comes to giving a lasting legacy.
Many people overlook the importance of developing a gift plan for making current gifts and future charitable bequests. Stephen Webb, CEO of Entrust Financial Services, encourages people to take the time to openly engage with their financial planner regarding their thoughts about their philanthropic plans.
“Everyone spends a great deal of time planning, whether it’s for their vacation, their home renovation, or their something regarding their financial plan. Everyone should think about developing their personal “Gift Plan” as part of their overall financial plan.” Webb says. “Everybody knows that when you have a plan for something, you end up with much better results.”
What is a gift plan?
Your Gift Plan outlines your annual budget for giving and may help you establish whether you may make a final bequest. A financial plan involves a variety of plans and objectives including a retirement plan, investment plan, tax plan, estate plan, and a gift plan. Each plan is interconnected, and decisions regarding one plan influence each and every other plan. A “Gift Plan”, made as part of an overall financial plan, helps a person decide how much they may safely budget for annual gifts, and may highlight an opportunity to safely give more today when they may enjoy seeing the results of their gifts, than leaving a bequest through their estate.
This is why adding a gift plan, to your retirement, investment, tax and estate plans, makes a great deal of sense. You can accomplish so much more with a plan in place and may be able to give far more, or far more tax-efficiently than you had otherwise thought. Benefits abound for people who engage with their adviser to customize their own Gift Plan.
“…make your gift smarter”
“You give with your heart — and when you use your head, you make it smarter,” Webb says.
Webb is the volunteer Chairperson of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners – Manitoba Chapter.
“We recognize that there is not enough engagement going on between the person that is giving and their financial adviser,” Webb says. “If they were to engage with their financial adviser, what they would discover is that they would be able to give more efficiently. They would recognize that they may be able to give more than they thought, whether that be immediately or over the long term, without risking their retirement income or imperilling the estate they may wish to leave their family.”
Get professional advice
Webb points to a report entitled “The Philanthropic Conversation”, released in October 2014 by the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) and other stakeholders. Based on quantitative surveys, the study determined there is room for improvement in levels of giving, as well as in meaningful conversations on the topic between financial advisers and their clients.
“You have a financial adviser who helps you with your estate planning, helps you with your retirement income planning, and helps you in choosing your investments,” Webb says. “If you’re making a financial decision every year by making donations, it would make sense for you to have that discussion with your adviser to create a gift plan to go along with all the other parts of your overall plan, and make your gift smarter.”
At the same time, Webb hopes financial advisers will also embrace the opportunity to initiate discussions about gift planning with their clients. For his own clients, Webb asks them to envision three buckets where their money could end up. “You’re going to give your money to your kids or other beneficiaries, you’re going to give it to Revenue Canada in taxes, or you’re going to give it to charity. What
percentage would you like to put into each of these buckets?” he asks.
“I often find it shocking how little many people have considered putting into the charity bucket. Our objective is to help our clients disinherit Revenue Canada by putting as little in their bucket, and as much in charity’s bucket, without significantly impacting their family bucket.”
For potential gift-givers, he offers simple yet solid advice. “You can improve your giving by engaging with your financial adviser and making a gift plan.” To make the most of your gifts to RRC and other charities, Webb recommends finding an adviser who is a member of the CAGP and specializes in philanthropic giving. Elena Grinshteyn and Jakee Werbuk are Development Officers at RRC, and are both CAGP members.
For more information about the CAGP, philanthropic options with RRC or developing a gift plan contact Elena at 204-631-3324 or Stephen at 204-272-9670.