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19 July 2017

Guest Post: How To Decide Who Merits Your Money As You Ponder Your Legacy

How To Decide Who Merits Your Money As You Ponder Your Legacy

Not long ago, Jeff Bezos took to Twitter to ask the world for charitable-giving ideas.
The Amazon.com founder sought a charitable strategy that looked at the long term and soon he was inundated with suggestions.

Of course, Bezos has plenty of money to give, but you don’t need to be a billionaire to reach a point in life when you start feeling the charitable urge.

"There comes a time when many of us want to do more than just accumulate money and property," says Patrick Renn (www.patrickrenn.com) a financial professional and author of the best-selling book, Finding Your Money’s Greater Purpose.

"You want to distribute the bounty. You want to enjoy what you worked to acquire, of course, but part of the change in attitude is looking to see how you can do more than just take care of yourself."

But who should your wealth – whether abundant or meager – go to? Should all of it be kept in the family when you die? Should it go to your church? A favorite charity? The college that educated you?

Ultimately, only each individual can answer that question, Renn says. But there are steps that can help you prepare for making that decision. They include:

  • Be aware that circumstances change.

When you die, whatever you accumulated can end up in the hands of family, other beneficiaries, charities – or Uncle Sam. "A lot of people I talk to think they have it all worked out and that the IRS is going to get nothing," Renn says. "But often, when I examine their documents and analyze the numbers, I discover that’s not true. It’s not always because they did a bad job. More than likely, it’s because tax laws changed since they did their calculations, or something about their personal situation changed."

  • Realize that fair doesn’t always mean equal.

People often divide an inheritance into equal shares. If there are three children, for example, then each gets one-third. Renn says people should sometimes reconsider the automatic urge to do that. For example, both children may be hard working, but one might be well off financially while the other is struggling to make ends meet. One sibling might be more adept at handling money, while the other will quickly blow any inheritance.

  • Understand that even small gifts can help
Many people think that leaving something to charity is for the very rich only. But Renn says anyone, regardless of net worth, can find something they care about and include that charity, organization or cause as part of their legacy. A financial professional might even be able to help you leverage your resources so that your gift accomplishes more than you would have imagined.

"We can contribute to the greater good with our time, our efforts and our money," Renn says. "In giving financially, we are, in effect, giving all three, since money represents the fruit of our time and effort. When we share our money, we share ourselves."

About Patrick Renn

Patrick Renn, author of Finding Your Money’s Greater Purpose, has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM for more than 35 years and holds a bachelor’s degree from in business administration from Villanova University and an MBA from Loyola College. Renn – who currently lives in Georgia – is the founder of Renn Wealth Management Group Inc.(www.patrickrenn.com), the former president of the Georgia Society of Certified Financial Planners and former president of the Georgia chapter of the International Association for Financial Planning. He is the past president of the Georgia Special Olympics, is the current chair of the Day 1 Endowment and has served on countless other charitable and endowment boards.

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  1. I hope to someday have enough for charitable giving.

    1. Me, too. But, you know what? Little bits add up. I was once involved with a reversal ministry that raised money for the women and men to have their sterilization procedures reversed. Most of these surgeries were funded by little gifts from each person, not one person giving a big gift. There were some big gifts along the way on some of them. But, most of the donations were less than $10 each, as I understand it, and many surgeries were funded. A little goes a long way with many working together. No gift is insignificant.

      Have a blessed day. :)


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