Does Your Financial Plan Reflect Your Values or just Your Valuables?


Values & Valuables: The Overview (Part 1 of 3)

Financial planning is good — except when it only focuses on your valuables and ignores your values. Your financial planner is probably not going to help you with this. Here’s why.

The billions of dollars raised by charities each year only represent a small fraction of the average American’s net worth.

The reality is these monies represent the fluid currency of cash – which is a mere 9% of the total net worth of the average American. The other 91% is in assets: 401(k)s, home equity lines, retirement plans, life insurance and so forth.

Many donors wish they could release the full giving potential of their valuables to further the charities that resonate with their values.

But how can you, as the average American donor, address philanthropy in the context of items that are not in your checkbook or in cash?

You live in your home. You need your retirement plan. And your life insurance is only available after death.

You’ve spent years being faithful to live the life well that you’ve been given. You’ve worked jobs, raised a family, participated in the community, etc.

And through your faithfulness, you’ve created wealth in terms of assets, friends, homes, and values.

Both your values and your valuables should be celebrated.

For most individuals, the gift to charity in their estate will be the biggest impact they will be able to make in this lifetime. Perhaps that’s you, too.

But you’re probably not going to hear this from your chosen charities or your church.

Often nonprofit executives look at potential donors like you — especially in a church setting — and assume that philanthropic elements like wills and trust planning are being done by your financial planners or attorneys.

However, financial planners and attorneys are only looking to find the most direct path to transfer wealth from one generation to the next.

But these financial professionals leave it up to nonprofit executives and church leaders to educate you on value-based charitable giving or legacy giving.

And because each believes the other is discussing this information, you might never hear about planned charitable giving in a way that helps you direct the 91% of your wealth towards the values you care deeply about.

A notable opinion on this issue is offered by Mark Zezbaugh, the former CEO at one of the biggest financial companies in the world.

He openly exhorts the financial service community regarding the normal pattern of advisors assisting clients in passing on their financial wealth to the next generation, without consideration of charity or values-based giving.

But in a study Mark conducted with Age Wave, the results showed that for aging Americans…

The #1 priority is passing their values onto their heirs. Passing their wealth — their valuables — is only #4 on the priority list.

That just makes sense.

You have spent years developing your children, demonstrating your values and hoping for it to make a lasting impression.

I’d rather my three daughters share my values than have the life insurance money or trust fund (valuables) — even though I want them to have that too.

I am more interested in my children becoming healthy, happy women than making sure they are financially set.

Is your estate planning only focused on valuables? What are some ways to pass your values to the next generation?

The good news is that your estate planning can celebrate both your values as well as your valuables by donating portions of your assets to your charity or church.

To help you unlock the full potential of your giving capacity, we offer a service helping donors like you explore ideas on estate giving. No cost. No obligation.

If you want to see how you can minimize your tax liability and pass on your values by giving to charity, let’s talk!