It’s often during these kinds of conversations that different generations of a family find they have similar interests, which can serve as a starting point for a collective family approach to giving.
Question 1: Establishing a tradition of giving can be a great way for families to bond around common values. During this holiday season, how can parents help make charitable giving a family affair?
There are different ways to spark conversations about philanthropy with younger family members. For example, you might describe the most meaningful donations you’ve made recently, perhaps to a local cause close to your heart. It’s often during these kinds of conversations that different generations of a family find they have similar interests, which can serve as a starting point for a collective family approach to giving.
Question 2: After these conversations take place, what is the best way to put a plan into action?
In my experience, an important first step once families start talking about charitable giving is to create a giving plan. These plans can get very detailed, but as a starting point, it can be writing down the family’s core values and causes and how they plan to donate time and money.
Start by drawing up an annual budget for family giving. You can earmark set amounts of cash and non-cash assets for your chosen charities and designate funds for unexpected needs, such as natural disasters or impacts from violence and war. Next, consider volunteering time; perhaps you or your children have specific skills that can make a difference for the causes that matter to you and your family.
One family I work with has a holiday tradition where each child is allotted a certain amount and given the chance to research a charity they would like to give the money to. When the family gets together, each child takes a turn explaining their selection. I love how this practice brings the family together and serves as a reminder to the kids that the holidays are about giving back.
Question 3: Once a family decides where and how they want to give, what are the different vehicles available for charitable giving?
While you can donate directly to charity, it often makes sense to consider specialized charitable vehicles that make giving easier and help maximize your tax benefits.
For example, a donor-advised fund allows you to make an irrevocable contribution of cash, securities, or other appreciated non-cash assets held for more than one year and receive a current-year tax deduction. By donating appreciated non-cash assets such as stock, you can also avoid the capital gains tax you would otherwise incur if you sold the stock and donated the cash proceeds, and this can provide you with up to 20% more to give to charity.
If you prefer to leave assets to charity but also earn income for a period of time, a charitable remainder trust or pooled income fund is worth exploring.
Families should consider their own circumstances and plans when determining the best approach.
To learn how you can achieve your financial goals, including creating a charitable giving plan, talk to a financial consultant at a Schwab branch near you.
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