Wealth in Giving: The Practical, Personal, and Inspirational Benefits

At Life Directions Financial, we embrace a broader perspective than one focused solely on money in defining wealth. We consider material prosperity to be a “fuel” enabling other wealth dimensions such as wellness, purposeful living, healthy relationships, spiritual fulfillment, and effective giving. Conversely, active giving connects and enhances the other dimensions of wealth in ways that are surprisingly practical, vitally personal, and truly inspirational.

Practical. For a client couple we will call Ken and Sue, the glittering promise of a robust retirement portfolio was fast fading into shadowy question as they began to actually rely on it in an atmosphere of higher taxes and market volatility. Passing up alternatives and believing what was common and convenient, they had been seduced by the lure of current tax deduction. Now the “tax bomb” was exploding, and resources they had to use while the market was down never recovered, obviously.

Another couple, we’ll call them George and Alice, believed that the sale and transition of their business would be a piece of cake and thus failed to seek expert advice and help for the unexpected complexities and largely avoidable estate-shrinking succession issues.

Years of experience has taught us that no advisor can be an expert in everything. However, we can and have become a conduit to top level expert advice by connecting with the Team Based Consultant Model. This gives us the privilege of quarterbacking a team of nationally known experts to meet pressing individual and business needs, while at the same time adding value to our CPA connections.

Creative giving is just one of many practical ways to address personal and corporate taxation as well as other risks. Our approach is to use a quick online questionnaire which identifies individual or business needs and yields a concise report on effective ways to save money and reduce risk (you can request it by emailing service@lifedirectionsfinancial.com). Here’s the bottom line for a substantial chunk of your wealth: you can give it to the government, or to your kids and causes via expert, legal strategies. The choice is yours.

Personal. Charitable giving is not just a dreary means of reducing taxes, but rather an opportunity to inject meaning, fun, and joy into life. We seem to be hard-wired for community. Research strongly supports that connectors and givers tend to live longer and more fulfilled lives. Altruism can be a powerful force for health and happiness.

Inspirational. Finding a cause you are passionate about and getting involved, becoming a part of something larger than yourself, can have a transformational impact on your life, infusing it with greater meaning and purpose. If you’d like to get serious about giving, we recommend reading A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

Your wealth accumulated not only because of your hard work; you were also gifted with the time, place, opportunities, and health with which to create it. Now you have the chance to give back by doing your part to restore justice, health, community, and wholeness to those in need. It is a decision with the power to inspire the rest of your life while at the same time providing real personal and practical benefits.

Douglas Anderson, Psy. D.