Multiply the Impact of Your Gift
Giving gifts is one of my favorite things. To me, seeing the look on a loved one’s face when they receive the perfect gift is the best part of this season. But, we’ve all seen gift giving get out of hand—sometimes we all end up exchanging gift cards, or we end up stressed when thinking about the gifts left to buy … and the associated price tags. And worse, this time of year can leave children (and adults!) comparing their gifts to others’ rather than soaking up time with friends and family.
A fresh take on giving could do us all a little good. Consider a few ways to give that can multiply the impact of your gift and increase joy.
Gifts that …
In financial planning discussions with our clients, more and more of them are sharing that experiences, not physical possessions, are what gives them true joy. Not fleeting happiness, but true, lasting joy. Their realizations have impacted me greatly. If experiences bring true joy, why not combine those experiences with gift giving? This could be a weekend trip with your best friend, a model airplane to work on with your child or grandchild, a pair of concert tickets or a cooking class to attend with your loved one who is always watching the Food Network. Of course, these memory-making gifts work much better when they align with the interests of those to whom you’re giving. Take some time to listen and observe when your loved ones express interest in something and brainstorm a memory-making gift that aligns. These gifts won’t end up collecting dust or stuffed in a closet.
Sometimes giving a gift that can be unwrapped and immediately used is still preferred. Socially conscious products have grown exponentially since I first heard of companies like Toms, who donates a pair of shoes to those in need for every shoe purchased. There is a myriad of options that will put a smile on your loved one’s face and leave you both with a warm feeling as you share the mission behind the gift and the impact it will have. From jewelry that provides lifesaving surgeries to those in need (Mercy Ships), to comfy clothes that help end sex trafficking (Sudara), to leather goods that ignite generational change in the developing world (Mission Lazarus), a quick Google search of gifts that give back will open a whole new world of gift options. Similar to memory-making gifts, choosing a socially conscious gift that supports a cause your loved one is passionate about is the best way to multiply joy.
Fuel your Philanthropic Spirit while Reducing Taxes
Year-end gifts to charity, whether in someone’s honor or to simply help the community, are always impactful. The tax deduction they may create is a bonus. Aside from a cash donation, there are additional ways to give that can further reduce your taxes, thereby increasing your ability to give! Most charities are adept at receiving gifts of appreciated stock, which affords you the same tax deduction yet prevents you from paying capital gains taxes—talk about a win/win. Additionally, if you have an amount of cash or appreciated stock you’d like to donate, but have not settled on a charity, use of a donor-advised fund allows you to take the deduction now, but let the investment grow until you’ve decided which nonprofit(s) to support. Your financial planner can give guidance on the best approach.
Whether giving a gift that creates a memory, supports global change or impacts a nonprofit close to your heart—while reducing your taxes!—aligning your gift choices to your passions or the interests of your loved ones will multiply the gift’s impact and the joy it produces. After all, increasing joy is what this season is all about!
Melissa Ballard is a certified financial planner and the director of planning for PYA Waltman Capital LLC. For more information, visit PYAWaltman.com.