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Financial Planning > Charitable Giving

A Philanthropic Generation

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“Not only are young millionaires giving more than older generations, they are giving more than they have in the past,” said Marguerite Griffin, national director of Philanthropic Services for Northern Trust, in announcing the results of some new Northern Trust research on charitable giving. In fact, the third annual “Wealth in America” survey of high-net-worth individuals and families (those with $1 million or more in investable assets), found that Generation X millionaires give nearly twice as much on average to charitable causes than older generations.

Gen X millionaire households (ages 28 to 42) gave nearly $20,000 in 2006, compared to Baby Boomers (ages 43 to 61) and Silent Generation millionaires (ages 62 to 77), who gave roughly $10,000, the survey found. Conducted in the fourth quarter of 2007, the research also revealed that looking ahead through 2008, Gen X millionaires plan to increase their giving, unlike older high-net-worth households, who expect their 2008 giving to remain at about the same levels as 2006 and 2007.

Gen X millionaires seem to be more motivated as well when it comes to family-related philanthropic goals. Fifteen percent of this group stated that “creating a lasting legacy for themselves or their family” was their main goal (compared with 4% of older millionaires), and 12% stated that honoring a loved one was their primary goal (compared with 5% of older millionaires).

“Increasingly, millionaires want to ensure their children understand the responsibility that comes with wealth,” said Griffin in a statement. “Along with planning for their children’s financial future, young millionaires want to instill strong values, and get them involved in giving early on, so that it becomes an important part of their lives.”

In addition to providing more funds, Gen X millionaires are more international in their giving than older generations, the study found. Fourteen percent of the organizations receiving donations from Gen X households are found around the globe, compared with 8% for Baby Boomers and 5% for Silent Generation millionaires.


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