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Financial Planning > Charitable Giving

The Giving Season

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For children, the just-passed holiday season is mostly about getting. For adults, this doesn’t totally change, of course. As I write this, I think about all those financial services employees for whom a Christmas or year-end bonus is normally a major part of their compensation. And in 2001, many of those people did not get too much in the way of a bonus. Perhaps you were one of them.

As we grow older and wiser, the holidays skew more toward giving than getting. Partly that comes from wanting to please the children in our lives and partly because we know the joy that the act of giving brings to the giver. But it goes beyond that. This year many of us are feeling thankful to be alive and well. Disasters like we’ve suffered often lead the survivors to reflect on all the blessings that we continue to enjoy.

As many of your clients grow older and gather more assets–money and houses and investments–their thoughts, ironically enough, increasingly are turning to giving away some of their excess.

This month’s cover story focuses on giving. Senior Editor Cort Smith reports on the change in attitude among the affluent, many of them baby boomers. The article, which begins on page 40, provides the psychological underpinnings for these charitable impulses. More importantly for your purposes, the story details the many vehicles–old and new–that exist for charitable giving.

At the magazine, our job is to help you understand the options to help increase client assets, of course. In this issue we include stories on the appropriate strategies for high-net-worth individuals in these uncertain economic and political times (“Security Crisis”) and several stories on one of the hottest and least understood investing vehicles, hedge funds (“Who’s Hedging?” and our monthly HedgeWorld offering ). Furthermore, Jim Lowell is changing the focus of his New Economy Advisor column to address sector investing. This month Jim provides a primer on exchange traded funds: their history, how to use them in a portfolio, and what they offer to clients.

People in other parts of the world (Europeans come to mind) like to criticize Americans for their slavish devotion to capitalism, characterizing the American dream as a simple, grasping materialism. But we also are a very charitable nation. We give to people less fortunate than ourselves in our own nation, and to people all over the world, even our erstwhile enemies.

More and more, the advisor’s job is not just to help clients preserve and grow their capital but also to steer clients toward the appropriate ways to give back some of their hard-earned assets.

Help your clients see the wisdom and grace that comes from giving it away. Help them do it the right way, too.


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