In the world of financial professionals, a major obstacle to getting people to do more is, unfortunately, the professionals themselves. Frequently, professionals such as attorneys, investment advisors, insurance professionals, and accountants tell us their clients aren’t interested in charitable giving but instead want to minimize taxes and maximize the wealth that their family and heirs will receive.
How does the financial professional industry in general come to this conclusion that people don’t want to support personal causes and organizations? The most common basis for this assertion is: “I asked them, and that’s what they told me.” When questioned about how they asked, we usually hear some variation of this not-so-creative or sophisticated question: “Do you want to leave money to charity?” And the response they usually elicit is about what you’d expect.
Such a blunt question seems to dredge up those primal concerns in people about whether there’s enough for them and whether there’s likely to be anything left for the family. Even if those are not direct concerns, there is rarely any explanation or education to clarify the common misconception most people have: That a charitable legacy means the family will receive less than it would otherwise.
The vast majority of professional advisors have little to no experience in how to facilitate an engaging and productive conversation on legacy planning and philanthropy. Here are some fairly simple and effective questions that advisors could ask their clients to develop this important conversation:
· “If you knew you could afford to give more to causes and organizations you personally care about, without compromising your financial independence and lifestyle, would this be interesting and potentially valuable to you?
· “Were you aware that in most circumstances, when you leave money to charity through your estate or trust, it does not have to reduce your family’s share?
· “Would you prefer to take the portion of your money that otherwise would be paid to the government in taxes after your death, and instead redirect those assets to your personally chosen causes and organizations?
These three questions are much more likely to help people begin thinking differently and dispelling whatever ignorance or misconceptions they may have toward this subject. Ultimately, with just a bit more thought and care, professionals can guide and counsel clients in ways that encourage and empower them to get into a game they do in fact care about, but never really thought they could afford to play.
-Excerpt from chapter 5
Download a chapter of the book at domorethatmatters.com
Ron Ware, J.D. and Greg Hammond, CFP®, CPA are wealth impact strategists and personal legacy advisors who help individuals, families, and business owners enhance their financial standing while discovering a greater capacity to provide for their loved ones and support cherished charities. Contact Ron or Greg. Greg’s website: www.hammondiles.com Ron’s website: www.wealthimpactpartners.com