As we race towards the end of year there are many things to do and focus on. Personally, our charitable contributions are always larger towards the end to the year. Sheepishly I have to admit some of it is that the IRS (you know them, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you!) provides an encouragement via tax deductions of making the donations now. When I sit back and review my behavior and assess my motivations they are clearly in conflict. Yes, charitable donations are tax deductible and they do reduce my overall tax bill but that is not the reason for doing it since there is always a net cost, until the tax rate exceeds 100% anyway, to the transaction.
The real reason is that we feel we have been blessed in many ways and it is important to help others monetarily and otherwise. The readers of this blog most likely have much to offer, not only on a monetary basis, but our other talents as well. In a recent blog post by David Bohl entitled “Fulfillment: The Power of Volunteering“, he writes about the energizing feeling of helping others, the appreciation that gets shown and the love (and receive!) that we show by doing it.
Yes, the government provides a benefit from our philanthropic activities. It provides incentives for private individuals to get involved and help those who need a hand. There are also many strategies for providing a legacy beyond ourselves. In a previous post several wealth management strategies were revealed to provide ongoing legacies and build values within families.
A friend of mine, Tom Hubler, who works with family businesses often remarks “The best antidote for consumerism is philanthropy”. The act of personal involvement through volunteering can provide exponential benefits to the value of monetary gifts.
I have a confession to make! I have a favorite TV show that I record and watch each week.. Heroes. Yes, the “Save the cheerleader save the world” one! Many who know me will either laugh or scratch their head and say”What’s up with that!” The story is built on several people (there is no “one star” but multiple story lines and characters), all who have super-human talents. While a little too science fiction for some the message that shouts to me is that we all have unique talents. Talents that amaze others (maybe not the extent of the show but still real talents) and that are useful to others. Talents as simple as the ability to pay attention to someone who needs it, deliver meals, build a structure or maybe even just a hug and a smile. Yet on the show the real magic and power comes when these super-human people team up and use all the talents they have at their disposal to achieve the maximum effect against “the evil forces”. Most of us will likely agree that there is plenty of opportunity to share our gifts both personally and monetarily to help the world. As December 31st hurtles towards me I will not only finish up my financial sharing but evaluate where I can add my talents as well. Remember, you’re a HERO too!