Do you ever feel guilty about not giving to a friend’s charitable cause? I do. This is especially true in December when we tend to think about those in need and feel grateful for what we have. After all, Scrooges and Grinches are an important part of our culture and December is the season for giving.
I am not referring to the small donations that our friends ask for. These are nothing to begrudge, but neither are they integral to our financial plans or our personal values. At the same time, sometimes we do not want to support the causes that captivate the moral sentiments of others. In these cases, we find ourselves torn between the love we have for our friends and our own deeply held convictions.
Rather than waiting for December, I believe that January is a fine time to examine what motivates us to help others. A good place to start is with a personal or family mission statement. Writing it down helps us to be more effective with our dollars and can draw spouses and families closer together. It also provides an opportunity to build strong values in future generations.
I shall use the next few blog posts to discuss how to write a charitable mission statement and some considerations for designing a plan. These include:
• Tax consequences.
• What to give.
• Retirement plans and annuities.
• Dealing with appreciated property.
When we plan our gifts we also have a ready answer if we are asked to give substantial sums to causes that are not aligned with our charitable missions. Maybe, that will avoid some awkward moments at next December’s holiday party.